Season 17/18

 

Season 2017-18

Match reports below tables (Milanda's score always comes first)

 

Date

Opponent

Comp

Home\Away

Score

Scorers

Aug 12th

Glenavon

Friendly

H

4 -2

Di Falco, Rose (3)

Aug 26th

Bridgend Ams

WM Drummond

A

1-4

Cairney

Sept 2nd

Hamilton Wanderers

WM Drummond

H

4-2

Rose, Gregg (3)

Sept 9th

Libertine Accies

GDSML

H

5-1

McDonald, Cairney, Kelly, Newlands (2)

Sept 16th

Strathclyde Uni

GDSML

A

1 - 4

Gregg

Sept 30th

Glenavon

GDSML

H

4 - 1

Kelly (3), Gregg

Oct 7th

Kings Park Rovers

GDSML

A

2 - 9

Gregg, P. Murray

Oct 21st

Kings Park Rovers

GDSML

H

1 - 8

Gregg

Oct 28th

Hamilton Wanderers

GDSML Cup

A

1 - 3

Kelly

Nov 4th

Braehead

GDSML

A

2 - 4

Gray (2)

Dec 2nd

Bridgend

GDSML

A

2 - 2

Gray, Kelly

Jan 13th

Blantyre

GDSML

H

1 - 6

Gregg

Jan 27th

Glenavon

GDSML

A

5 - 4

Allan (4), Di Folco

Feb 3rd

Crosslands

WM Drummond

A

2 - 5

R. Addison, Gray

Mar 10th

Kings Park Rovers

John Rae

H

1 - 7

C. Murray

Mar 17th

Braehead

League

H

0 - 3

-

Mar 24th

Strathclyde Uni

League

H

1 - 3

Di Folco

Appearances

 

League

WM Drummond

GDSML Cup

John Rae

Total

T Addison

7 (2)

3

1

1

14

C. Murray

10

2

1

1

14

A. Thomson

6 (1)

2

1

1

11

M. Hutton

2

1

1

1

5

C. Kelly

10

3

1

1

15

G. Di Folco

9

3

1

1

14

L. Gray

8 (1)

2

1

 

12

R. O'Donnell

7 (1)

1 (1)

1

 

11

L. Cairney

3 (1)

2

-

 

6

M. Russell

(2)

(1)

-

 

3

A. Gregg

10

3

1

 

14

T.Lunday

-

1

-

 

1

G. Evans

8

2

1

1

12

G. Harley

2

1

-

 

3

S. Mosedale

1

1

-

 

2

J. Doyle

-

1

-

 

1

P. Rose

2 (1)

1

(1)

 

5

R. Mitchell

8

1

-

 

9

Neilson

1

-

-

 

1

P. Murray

6

1-

-

 

6

L. MacDonald

1

-

-

 

1

V. Newlands

(1)

-

-

 

1

Patterson

2

-

-

 

2

R. Addison

6 (1)

1

1

1

10

S. Hughes

-

-

(1)

(1)

2

J. Hughes

4

-

(1)

1

6

S. Cannon

2 (2)

(1)

-

 

5

R. Haggerty

3

-

-

1

4

M. Allan

2

1

-

1

4

 

Goals

Player

League

League Cup

GDSML Cup

John Rae

Total

Gregg

15

3

 

-

8

C Kelly

5

-

1

-

6

Gray

4

1

-

-

5

Allan

4

-

-

-

4

Cairney

1

1

-

-

2

Newlands

2

-

-

-

2

Rose

-

1

-

-

1

P. Murray

1

-

-

-

1

Di Folco

2

-

-

-

2

R. Addison

-

1

-

-

1

L. MacDonald

1

-

-

-

1

C. Murray

-

-

-

1

1

Match Reports

 

Saturday August 12, 2017. Friendly. Greenfield.

 

AC MILANDA 4 GLENAVON 2 Scorers Di Falco, Rose (3)

 

MILANDA fielded three of their new signings as they began the new season with a friendly victory.

Lee Cairney, Johnny Doyle and Mark O’Donnell all fitted in well in a good overall team performance.

The improving Glenavon had control for spells of the match, were ahead twice and would probably say they deserved a draw.

Perhaps in a game that saw subs able to come off for a breather then go back on, Glenavon suffered from having just 11 players while Milanda had a full squad of 16.

 

When Glenavon suffered the loss of one of their players through injury, Thomas Addison went over to the other side to help them out. A nice gesture by Adda, although the visitors jokingly said that was the turning point of the game in Milanda’s favour. At least, we think they were joking.

Glenavon made the better start, although it was the home team who had the best effort of the opening exchanges when Richard Addison had a header saved from his brother’s free-kick.

 

Ross Mitchell made a good stop to deny Glenavon, while at the other end Colin Kelly had a shot blocked and Cairney hit a ferocious effort off target.

Glenavon took the lead just before the break and Milanda equalised just after it. The equaliser was set up by Kelly and fellow midfielder Gary Di Folco produced an excellent low finish.

 

Glenavon went ahead from the penalty spot after Creagh Murray, who had an excellent match, was adjudged to have brought down one of their lively forwards.

It was all-square again from a free-kick. The keeper couldn’t hold Greig Harley’s powerful drive and Peter Rose followed up to net the loose ball.

Goals No.3 and No.4 were set up brilliantly by Doyle and finished expertly by Rose for his first Milanda hat-trick.

 

MOM: Several players did enough to be man of the match but we’ll give it to Pedro for three well-taken goals.

 

SQUAD: Mitchell, T Addison, Evans, C Murray, O’Donnell, Cairney, Di Folco, C Kelly, Doyle, R Addison, Gregg, P Murray Thomson, Rose, Harley, Hutton.

 

----------

Saturday August 26, 2017. League Cup. Greenfield.

 

BRIDGEND AMS 4 AC MILANDA 1 Scorer Cairney

 

IT looks like a heavy defeat but Milanda were well in this game for more than an hour and deserved a better scoreline.

Had Bridgend edged the game 2-1, that would have been about right. In the end, though, their superior fitness told on a strength-sapping pitch that had been battered by rain for two full days and allowed them to take the score from a competitive 1-1 to a flattering 4-1.

 

Milanda were the more dangerous side in the first half-hour, despite having been hit with another spate of call-offs. While Bridgend’s players knocked the ball about and weaved some pretty patterns, the more direct approach could, with better luck, have been more effective.

 

The first real opening came when Mark Hutton set up Colin Kelly to break through on the right. Codger knocked the ball over the advancing keeper but one of the Bridgend defenders got back to stop his effort going over the line.

 

After more good work by Kelly, Gary Di Folco fired in a low shot that beat the keeper and thudded back into play off his right-hand post.

Kelly was again the provider for the next opportunity, this time sending a cross into the box that Andy Gregg dived to head wide.

The misfortune continued for Milanda when Lee Cairney found space in the box to shoot for goal, only for the ball to thump the crossbar.

Bridgend knew they were riding their luck, so they upped their game and it took two wonderful saves from Ross Mitchell to deny them the lead.

It was hard to believe such a competitive and entertaining first 45 half produced no goals but it wasn’t long until that changed, Bridgend scoring with a superb shot after less than five minutes of the second period.

 

However, Milanda fought back and the returning Lee Gray headed a decent chance over the bar from a Hutton cross.

 

Then came the equaliser as Milanda cashed in on some sloppy defensive work. Andy Gregg and Gray were involved in the build-up and Cairney was the scorer with a strong shot that the keeper got a hand to but couldn’t stop.

 

Milanda, with Mark Russell on in midfield, were hoping to go on and win the game from there but gradually it was Bridgend who looked the stronger and they emphasised that with a late flurry of goals.

 

Still, a few more games and a bit more training by everyone and hopefully Milanda will be able to match the better sides for 90 minutes rather than just 75.

 

MOM: Once again there were a few candidates for the top player award. Ross Mitchell had some great stops, Creagh Murray was powerful in the air and on the deck in front of him and Mark Hutton and Gary Di Folco caught the eye both going forward and helping with defensive duties. But this week’s award goes to Colin Kelly who was impressive all over the pitch and should have had a goal or an assist to show for his efforts.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, T Addison, C Murray, Thomson, Hutton, C Kelly, Di Folco, Gray, O’Donnell, Cairney (Russell), Gregg.

 

----------

Saturday September 2, 2017. League Cup. Stepford.

 

AC MILANDA 4 HAMILTON WANDERERS 2 Scorers Rose, Gregg (3)

 

MILANDA finished their League Cup section on a high with a comfortable victory, despite struggling yet again to put a team on the park.

Of the 11 who had started the previous week, only five were available and that stretched what is, on paper, a healthy squad to the absolute limit.

Hamilton Wanderers had drawn in midweek with Bridgend, the team that beat Milanda 4-1, so what looked like being a difficult fixture suddenly, due to limited resources, became a whole lot tougher.

 

However, the Milanda X1 rose to the occasion and fully deserved the three points that secured second place in the section.

The home side made a good start, with Colin Kelly having a shot blocked and Peter Rose heading a Stuart Mosedale cross too high.

Hamilton hit back and keeper Tam Lunday got down well to turn a long-range shot round the post.

But it wasn’t long before Milanda scored the opener. A brilliant through ball from Greig Harley sent Rose clear and he netted after the keeper had stopped his first effort.

 

Gary Di Folco had a deflected shot saved by the Hamilton keeper before Milanda doubled their lead. Shots by Di Folco then Rose were kept out but when the ball ran loose, Andy Gregg was there to knock it over the line.

 

Hamilton pulled one back but Milanda restored their two-goal advantage before the break. Gregg was again the scorer with a well-placed shot after making space for himself inside the box with some neat footwork.

 

Milanda expected Hamilton to come at them more strongly in the second period but the onslaught never really materialised. Lunday was rarely troubled and he dealt capably with everything that got past a solid back three of Thomas Addison, Gerry Evans and Harley.

 

Milanda were dominating the midfield, with Mosedale and Johnny Doyle doing great work in the wing-back positions and Lee Cairney, Colin Kelly and Di Folco performing likewise in the central roles.

 

Up front, Gregg and Rose were a lively pairing and kept the Hamilton rearguard on their toes at all times.

Centre-back Evans was unlucky not to score with a clever effort from close range that was cleared off the line before Mosedale rattled the Hamilton bar with a wonderful drive from long range.

 

A hand-ball offence 20 yards from goal resulted in the final goal of the day. A few Milanda players fancied having a crack at it but Gregg was the man who stepped up and fired a beauty into the net to complete his hat-trick.

 

Milanda saw out the game with little anxiety and will hope to keep up this kind of form at the weekend when they open their league campaign at home to another Hamilton side, GDSML newcomers Libertine Academical.

 

A big round of applause to the players for the performance and also for helping with the early season fund-raising required to pay the necessary bills. A number of football cards have been sold to help towards the required total of £345 (GDSML subscription of £120, SFA affiliation fee of £70, public liability insurance of £40 and player insurance policy of £115). It is a lot of money to find before a pitch has been booked, a referee paid or a laundry bill met, so well done, lads, and keep up the good work.

 

MOM: Every player contributed hugely to a superb team victory but, as has been said before, putting the ball in the net is what wins games and so goal machine Andy Gregg gets man of the match for a tremendous treble.

 

TEAM: Lunday, T Addison, Evans, Harley, Mosedale, C Kelly, Di Folco, Cairney, Doyle, Rose, Gregg

----------

Saturday September 9, 2017. GDSML fixture. Lochend.

 

AC MILANDA 5 LIBERTINE ACCIES 1 Scorers McDonald, Cairney, Kelly, Newlands (2)

 

MILANDA began their league campaign in style with a comprehensive victory over the GDSML new boys. Five fantastic goals hit the back of the Libertine net and it could easily have been five more on clear-cut chances created. Not that Libertine were a bad side. Quite the opposite.

 

However, with Lewis MacDonald and Vinnie Newlands, coming in to add to Milanda’s firepower because of yet more call-offs, the home side just had too many attacking options.

 

With only 10 signed players available on the day, Milanda were glad to have the services of the two young strikers plus Stuart Mosedale back for another run-out in midfield.

 

It was two of the trialists who created the opener in the 10th minute, Mosedale crossing for MacDonald to curl the ball into the corner of the net from inside the penalty box.

 

Libertine competed well but the better opportunities fell to Milanda and it was a surprise when they had just one goal to show for their hard work at the break. Colin Kelly had a free-kick brilliantly saved by the keeper and fired another couple of efforts wide, while MacDonald was denied a second goal by the visitors’ No.1.

However, a blistering start to the second period saw Milanda triple their lead. In the 47th minute, Lee Cairney worked a one-two with Kelly and thumped a powerful shot into the top corner of the net.

 

Three minutes later, Kelly stuck away goal No.3 after good leading-up play by Andy Gregg and MacDonald.

 

Libertine pulled one back when one of their strikers powered through the middle of the home defence to score a brilliant goal.

 

Then Ross Mitchell produced a good save to keep his team’s two-goal advantage.

 

But Milanda got through a little sticky patch and were soon threatening again at the other end.

 

Some good openings were passed up before MacDonald set up Newlands to make it 4-1 in the 77th minute.

 

The Libertine keeper had a wonderful double save to deny Newlands before the youngster scored his second from a pass by fellow substitute Mark Russell.

 

MOM: Another good all-round performance. The keeper and back three were pretty solid throughout, the midfield had energy and creativity, with Paul Murray back and looking good in his first competitive game of the season, while the front line was full of pace and threat. Gary Di Folco got through a power of work as did Colin Kelly who also contributed a goal and assist, while Vinnie Newlands had a very productive final 15 minutes when he went on. However, central to a very impressive attacking performance was Lewis MacDonald with his pace and trickery, so he takes the top player award.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, C Murray, Evans (Neilson), Thomson, Mosedale, Cairney (Russell), Di Folco, C Kelly, P Murray, MacDonald, Gregg (Newlands).

 

----------

GDSML Stepps.

 

STRATHCLYDE UNI 4 AC MILANDA 1 Scorer Gregg

 

MILANDA’S good recent record against Strathclyde University came to an end and they can have no complaints. The Uni have unearthed some real gems in the new intake and they were superior from start to finish. It didn’t help the Milanda cause that once again they had to change half the team from the previous week’s impressive victory over Libertine Accies. Winning games is hard enough without having such a lack of consistency in team selection but what can you do when so many players can’t guarantee turning up two weeks in a row, never mind a full season? But that’s where we are right now and the players who did appear for this one worked hard and stuck to what was a difficult task against a young, fit side on a huge pitch.

 

Milanda, who were missing most of the pace they have in the squad, didn’t threaten much in a first half that saw Strathclyde score twice. Gary Di Folco had a free-kick saved and new signing Neil Patterson missed a good chance in front of goal. Patterson hit the post in the second half and also set up the Milanda goal, expertly put away by Andy Gregg to cut the deficit to 2-1, but Strathclyde netted twice more, had an effort cleared off the line by Gerry Evans and also struck woodwork.

 

A poor day but Milanda were perhaps a little unlucky to get Strathclyde on day one of the league campaign because some of the home side’s players will definitely be promoted to their afternoon teams before too long. Another disappointing aspect of the morning was an injury to Andy Thomson which turned out to be a broken foot. Hopefully he’s a quick healer and we wish him all the best while he’s out of action.

 

MOM: Gerry Evans tried hard to stem the tide and hardly put a foot wrong so he wins this week’s award, pipping Creagh Murray, Neil Patterson and Gary Di Folco.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, C Murray, Evans, Thomson (T Addison), Hutton, Patterson, Di Folco, Gray, O’Donnell (Russell), Cairney, Gregg.

 

----------

GDSML Stepford.

 

AC MILANDA 4 GLENAVON 1 Scorers Kelly (3), Gregg

 

MILANDA took advantage of the fact that several First Division rivals were on Scottish Cup duty to go back to the top of the table with a solid win.

Although Glenavon shook off the loss of an early goal to equalise, Milanda were in control for most of the match and never looked like taking anything other than full points.

 

It was a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly from Milanda. They had some excellent passing moves and scored nice goals but there was also some sloppy play in between times and a couple of shocking misses.Scoring after just five minutes got Milanda off to the best possible start. Andy Gregg began the move with a terrific pass to Gary Di Folco out on the right and he bombed on to set up the opener for Colin Kelly.

 

Five minutes later, though, Glenavon pulled level after poor play let them in to beat Ross Mitchell. Milanda’s second started with a throw-in on the right and then Peter Rose slipped the ball to Kelly for another good finish. It was 3-1 before half-time. Following a corner by Lee Gray, Gregg set up Kelly to complete his hat-trick from close range.

 

Keeper Mitchell was pretty much a spectator for the entire second half but for all their pressure, Milanda managed just one more goal. It came in the 75th minute when Greig Harley burst forward on the left and provided the cross for Gregg to make it 4-1.

 

Lee Gray could have scored a couple but missed with a header then slashed a shot off target after a drive by Mark O’Donnell had come back off the bar. Di Folco also missed with a header but had another good game, his running power providing openings from the right rather than from his usual beat through the middle.

 

New signing Neil Patterson also did well in midfield and there should be praise, too, for the back three of Creagh Murray, Thomas Addison and Harley who combined well together as a defensive unit.

 

MOM: Colin Kelly. Three well-taken goals and another tremendous shift that saw him popping up all over the pitch.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, C Murray, T Addison, Harley, Di Folco, Patterson, C Kelly, Gray, Murray, Rose (O’Donnell), Gregg.

 

----------

GDSML Overlee Pavilion, Clarkston.

 

KINGS PARK ROVERS 9 AC MILANDA 2 Scorers Gregg, P. Murray

 

TEN-MAN Milanda were ruthlessly taken apart by a team we would have struggled to handle even with a full complement.Last season, three points were taken away to Kings Park and at home the result was 1-0 in their favour, although once again Milanda had 10 bodies.This, though, was a new and vastly improved standard of opposition. Kings Park had former Partick Thistle player Jered Stirling in their ranks plus a number of ex-juniors.

 

They played a brand of flowing football that was too good for opposition which was depleted to start with and then handicapped further by injuries picked up by Andy Gregg and Peter Rose.Despite the one-man disadvantage, Milanda started pretty well. A superb run by Colin Kelly set up Mark O’Donnell whose shot came back off the bar. Gregg, following up, tried to net the loose ball but it didn’t fall quite right for him.

 

The frame of the goal then denied Paul Murray from a 25-yard free-kick. Unlike in last season’s 1-0 game, Kings Park had sussed that Milanda were a man down and began to use that and the width of the pitch to their advantage. A two-goal lead was quickly established, although Milanda halved that when Gregg headed in a perfect Lee Gray cross. Unfortunately, that made Kings Park angry and they stuck away another three before the break.

 

Milanda made just one other reasonable chance in the first 45 minutes. Murray set up Kelly for a shot that was saved and Rose was unable to net the loose ball.

 

Gray headed a Murray corner wide early in the second half but most of the action was at the other end.Ross Mitchell was kept busy and had a number of super stops before Kings Park banged in three quick goals to make the score 8-1.Murray was denied by the keeper’s left-hand post but did score direct from a corner shortly afterwards, the Kings Park No.1 for some reason being taken by surprise and helping the ball into the net.

 

But the home side had the final say and stretched their lead to an embarrassing 9-2.

 

Call-offs, no-shows, injuries, holidays and work commitments are hitting Milanda hard at the moment and it has to be hoped we start getting some players back quickly or the decent start to the season will become a distant memory.

 

MOM: Ross Mitchell. It would have been double figures without his series of excellent saves.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, C Murray, T Addison, Harley, Rose, Gray, C Kelly, P Murray, O’Donnell, Gregg.

 

----------

GDSML Lochend.

 

AC MILANDA 1 KINGS PARK ROVERS 8 Scorer Gregg

 

THE great experiment of trying to play football matches with 10 men is now over. The conclusion? It doesn’t work. Milanda were a man short when they lost 9-2 away to Kings Park Rovers. Undeterred, they tried the same tactic against them at home and lost 8-1. Two defeats by a seven-goal margin suggests going back to 11 men is probably a good idea.

 

Now all that is required is for members of the squad to start turning up. Or, at the very least, to start indicating they won’t be there so that trialists can be arranged. Or is that too much to ask? The players who did appear on Saturday worked hard but it is incredibly frustrating to be short-handed against a team whose passing and movement is so good. Kings Park know who to use a numerical advantage – this is the third time in a row they have face a 10-man Milanda – and were able to create openings with little trouble.

 

It was 4-0 at half-time and Kings Park added four more before Milanda completed the scoring with a well-worked consolation goal, Andy Gregg netting from a Ricky Addison cross.

 

The only real positive on the day was having Andy Thomson and Ricky Addison back from injury and Gerry Evans back from holiday.

 

MOM: Everyone put in a shift – they didn’t have much choice – but the returning Ricky Addison caught the eye with his strong running and willingness to have a pop at goal. As well as setting up the Milanda goal, he had a 35-yarder brilliantly tipped over the bar by the keeper and generally looked as if he will be a big help to the team when restored to full fitness.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, C Murray, Evans, Thomson, T Addison, R Addison, C Kelly, Murray, O’Donnell, Gregg.

 

----------

GDSML Cup first round. Hamilton Palace Grounds.

 

HAMILTON WANDERERS 3 AC MILANDA 1 Scorer Kelly

 

MILANDA managed to get a full team on the park for the first time this month but still made a timid exit from the main cup competition.Although Wanderers are in the division above, this was a winnable tie and Milanda should have done better.The fact that regular keeper Ross Mitchell was missing can't even be used as an excuse because stand-in Thomas Addison played well and had no chance with the goals.

 

A combination of mistakes and poor play as a team combined to make this a day to forget. Two of the Wanderers' goals came from Milanda throw-ins and that says it all. There should be a club rule that if the referee awards Milanda a throw, we decline to take it because inevitably the ball ends up being given back to the opposition anyway. To think we used to get a large percentage of our goals from throws - now we lose goals from them.

 

Players returning after missing two, three or more games doesn't help either because they are naturally rusty.The days of winning a game and the manager saying 'same again' the following Saturday seem to be long gone. It's hard to remember the last time Milanda fielded the same team two weeks running, never mind three or four.Certain things didn't go Milanda's way, to be fair. There was a disallowed goal following a Mark Hutton free-kick, the referee deciding that the keeper had been impeded before the ball ended up in the back of the net, and Gary Di Folco was unlucky with a shot against the woodwork.

 

However, there is no doubt the home side deserved to win. They played as a unit and made fewer mistakes. Milanda's shape never seemed to be quite right, even allowing for midfield switches caused initially by Mark O'Donnell having to go off in the first half. Striker Ricky Addison kept dropping deep to help in midfield, leaving Andy Gregg isolated, Colin Kelly dropped even deeper than that, often starting attacks from the right-back position when ideally the team needed him working from middle to front. Perhaps it had been so long since we had played with 11 that we'd forgotten how to do it.

 

Whatever the reason, it was a poor performance and the only real highlight was the goal. It came at 2-0 and meant the half-time team talk was about striving to get back on level terms. Di Folco set the goal up with a cracking pass to Kelly on the left and Codger just kept charging forward to blast the ball into the net.

Unfortunately, these two combined in a mix-up at the start of the second half to gift Hamilton their decisive third goal. Both could have cleared a ball inside the box but in the end neither did and the home forward had the simple task of planting it in the net.

 

Milanda at last showed a bit of genuine urgency in the final 15 minutes when Peter Rose went on to make a three-man front line.Di Folco forced a good save from the keeper and Gerry Evans blasted a decent chance over but there never looked much chance of getting one goal never mind the two that would have taken the tie to extra time.

 

Two new players - twins Jamie and Sean Hughes - made their debuts in the tie and fitted in well.

 

MOM: Thomas Addison made three or four excellent saves to keep Milanda in with a chance. He also managed to pick up a silly booking but we'll let him off with his fine this time seeing as he was the star performer.

 

TEAM: T Addison, C Murray, Evans, Thomson (Rose), Hutton (S Hughes), C Kelly, Di Folco, Gray, O'Donnell (J Hughes), R Addison, Gregg.

 

----------

GDSML Paisley Racecourse.

 

BRAEHEAD 4 AC MILANDA 2 Scorer Gray (2)

 

A brave Milanda fightback from 4-0 down gave the league leaders a scare before they secured the points.This was a much improved performance from the previous week and Milanda showed they can compete with the best when they concentrate and put the work in. The first half was fairly competitive but Braehead took their chances to hold a two-goal advantage at the break.

 

It was vital Milanda made a good start to the second period and get a goal back but two in two minutes by Braehead, one of them a freak cross that ended up in the net via the frame of the goal, put them in the driving seat. However, Milanda were the better side in the next 40 minutes, got two goals back and might, with luck, have had more.

 

Creagh Murray shot wide as Milanda began to put on some pressure before Paul Murray was inches away from finding the net with a clever chip from an acute angle. Mark O’Donnell then had Braehead on the back foot with a good run on the left that deserved to bring some reward. Finally Milanda got on the scoresheet when Lee Gray poked the ball home following one of Paul Murray’s trademark long throws.

 

Creagh Murray headed a Paul Murray corner wide before Milanda scored again. This time it was a Paul Murray free-kick that Braehead didn’t clear and Gray was again the man to provide the close-range finish. Milanda threw on Peter Rose to form a front three with Andy Gregg and Paul Murray and although there were one or two near things, they couldn’t cut the deficit further.

 

A good effort, though, against a very capable side.

 

MOM: Lee Gray defended well and scored two goals so he takes this week’s award, holding off other top performers such as Mark O’Donnell and Paul Murray. A word of praise too for Mark Hutton and Andy Thomson who turned up to go on the bench when they were not 100 per cent.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, Gray, T Addison (Rose), Evans, R Addison, Di Folco, C Kelly, C Murray, O’Donnell, P Murray, Gregg. Subs not used: Hutton, Thomson.

 

----------

GDSML St Ambrose HS, Coatbridge.

 

BRIDGEND 2 AC MILANDA 2 Scorers Gray, Kelly

 

Milanda gave a much improved performance to take a point from one of the best footballing sides in the division. After a three-week lay-off, there were no signs of rustiness as the players matched Bridgend for effort and commitment. The point was well-deserved and only a superb bit of goalkeeping prevented Andy Gregg from securing all three points at the death. It would have been nice to think there would have been something approaching a full squad available after such a long period of idleness but once again some unavoidable call-offs and some completely avoidable no-shows left the squad depleted.

 

However, with the help of the returning Sean Cannon, a 12-man squad was mustered. Cannon took his place up front alongside Gregg as Milanda began with a 3-5-2 formation on the astroturf. The start was lively and it wasn't long before the two strikers made their presence felt as Milanda took the lead. A Cannon corner was headed powerfully for goal by Gregg. His effort was blocked but lethal Lee Gray did what he did twice against Braehead and followed up to fire home the loose ball.

 

Bridgend had a lot of possession and knocked the ball about in nice patterns but struggled to make genuine chances. Milanda threatened again when Gregg sent Gary Di Folco down the right but he fired his shot too high. There was another good opening created by Andy Thomson but Gregg just failed to get on the end of his cross.

 

Finally Bridgend started to cause danger in the box and it took a magnificent double save by stand-in keeper Thomas Addison to keep his team in front. However, he was beaten just before the break when Milanda were slow to react to the threat on the left and one of the Bridgend players fired a tremendous shot into the far corner of the net.

 

The fear was Milanda would start to tire in the second period but the players kept the shape of the team well and continued to provide stiff opposition for the home side. Bridgend did get their noses in front, though, when a goalkeeping error was punished. Milanda sent on Richard Addison and went to three up front to try to get back in the game and it paid off nine minutes from time when the substitute played in Colin Kelly to score the equaliser.

 

Bridgend tried to increase the tempo again as they searched for an equaliser but it was Milanda who came closest when Gregg's curling shot was just kept out by the fingertips of the Bridgend keeper.

 

So honours even in the end after a performance the Milanda players can be proud of.

 

MOM: Every player contributed to an excellent performance but Colin Kelly takes this week's accolade for a hard-working performance and crucial late strike

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TEAM: T Addison, C Murray, Evans, Thomson, Hughes (R Addison), Gray, C Kelly, Di Folco, O’Donnell, Gregg, Cannon.

 

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GDSML Glasgow Green.

 

AC MILANDA 1 BLANTYRE 6 Scorer Gregg

 

 

Milanda got back into action after a long festive break but found it hard going against title-chasing Blantyre. The home side competed well for the first hour and even took the lead but when Blantyre clicked into top gear they were hard to handle.Perhaps the scoreline is a little harsh on Milanda. Some of the goals could certainly have been avoided and it did not feel at any stage as if there were five goals between the teams, but the result is the result and there is no escaping the fact Blantyre fully deserved the three points that take them to the top of the table.

 

One of the big differences between the teams was in defence. Not in terms of the actual defending but the way in which the Blantyre back line were all confident on the ball and eager to come forward and help in attack, providing the team with so many more options.Their passing and movement was superior and that is a quality the better teams are able to exploit.

 

Not that they were at their best in the first half. In fact, Milanda competed well throughout that 45 minutes, although they were grateful to Ross Mitchell for two excellent saves with the score at 0-0. Ricky Addison came close with an effort from a Colin Kelly pass before Milanda went ahead after 40 minutes. Ricky Addison powered through and won a corner. Kelly took it and his perfect delivery was headed home from close range by Andy Gregg.

 

The hope then was to keep things tight and maintain the advantage until half-time but poor defending saw Blantyre level matters three minutes later. And it took another excellent piece of goalkeeping by Mitchell to ensure there was no change in the scoreline before the break.

 

Again, Milanda hoped to make a solid start to the second period but lost possession straight from the restart and that was a sign of things to come. Blantyre got their noses in front in the 50th minute and then added four more goals as Milanda players tired.

 

So, not the result we had hoped for and seemed capable of getting in a close first half but there can be no real complaints.

 

MOM: Pretty and cut and dried this week. Ross Mitchell produced some fine saves and was Milanda's best performer.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, C Murray, Evans, Thomson, Di Folco, Hughes (T Addison), Gray, C Kelly, O’Donnell, Gregg, R Addison.

 

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GDSML The Priory, Blantyre.

 

GLENAVON 4 AC MILANDA 5 Scorers Allan (4), Di Folco

 

The Priory seems an ideal venue for a team such as AC Milanda - but it was the management rather than the players who needed therapy after a bizarre nine-goal thriller.What looked like being a tough game to win after a desperate scramble to put together a team turned into a stroll at one stage as Milanda prepared to take a penalty for a 6-3 lead.However, the penalty was missed, Glenavon then pulled the score back to 5-4 and that meant a frantic final 10 minutes trying to hold on for three points.

 

Hold on they did, though, and the players deserve enormous credit for coping with the high winds and a tricky pitch, not to mention opponents who never gave up, to secure victory. And special mention must go to returning striker Marc Allan who helped himself to four goals.Strangely, both teams did better with the wind in their faces, Milanda winning the first half 3-1 and Glenavon taking the second 3-2. This statistic reinforced the half-time message to the players that just because you have gained an advantage without the wind behind you does not mean that the hard work is done.

 

Another batch of call-offs meant Milanda started with the bare 11, although Sean Cannon turned up 20 minutes into the match to provide the team with the luxury of a substitute.

 

Glenavon started with purpose and looked the better team. The wind was causing problems for the Milanda defenders but they managed to cope and provided good cover for stand-in keeper Ricky Addison.Milanda had an escape when a Glenavon goal was disallowed for offside - then took the lead themselves.Gary Di Folco made a surging run on the right and his low ball into the box was knocked in superbly by Marc Allan.

 

Glenavon hit back and keeper Addison got down well to save a low shot before Milanda doubled their lead.This time the assist was provided by Colin Kelly and Di Folco was the player doing the finishing. Two goals to the good after 20 minutes, Milanda were looking comfortable but Glenavon pulled one back on the break to make sure everyone realised there was a long way to go.

 

But in the 38th minute, the two-goal lead was restored when Paul Murray set up Allan to make it 3-1.Allan missed another good chance after the break but early in the second half he made amends by securing his hat-trick.

 

Back came Glenavon to make the score 4-2 before Allan took advantage of sloppy play at the back to score his fourth of the day. Not bad for someone who used to struggle to finish off his good attacking play. Glenavon simply wouldn't go away, though, and cut the deficit to 5-3 soon after.

 

When substitute Sean Cannon was brought down in the box, it gave Murray the chance to make it 6-3 but the normally reliable spot-kicker put his effort wide.

Glenavon scored a fourth goal and had chances to get a fifth to secure a point but Milanda also had further chances to net, most notably Murray who blasted over from good position.

 

Defenders Mark Hutton, Lee Gray and Thomas Addison did a lot of splendid work in a frantic 90 minutes, with excellent support from the likes of Ricky Haggerty, Jamie Hughes, Di Folco, Kelly, Murray and Mark O'Donnell, while Allan was on fire up front and had a good partner in Cannon later in the match.

 

MOM: Marc Allan - who else - takes the award this week, although this was an all-round team effort.

 

TEAM: R Addison, Hutton, T Addison, Gray, Haggerty, Di Folco, Hughes, C Kelly, O’Donnell (Cannon), Allan, P Murray.

 

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William Drummond Trophy quarter-final. Milton.

 

CROSSLANDS 5 AC MILANDA 2 Scorers R. Addison, Gray

 

Milanda's hopes of going through to the semi-finals of the William Drummond Trophy crashed and burned in a crazy four-minute spell of the first half in which they conceded three poor goals.It seemed they were coping fairly well against Premier Division opponents in the first half-hour but everything turned in a short spell and there was unlikely to be any way back.

 

Yet again the unavailability of players meant changes to the line-up after the previous week's win over Glenavon, so out went Mark Hutton, Ricky Haggerty and Paul Murray and in came Creagh Murray, Andy Thomson and Andy Gregg. Lee Cairney also returned to the squad after a long-term injury.Milanda were playing up the slope in the opening 45 minutes but were competing well and carved out the first real chance when Marc Allan laid on a chance for Gregg whose shot from the edge of the box was saved by the Crosslands keeper.

 

However, the game was turned on its head when the lively home side went 3-0 up between the 33rd and 37th minutes. Milanda tried to pull a goal back before the break and came close on three occasions. Allan took advantage of a slack passback to round the keeper but shot into the side net. Then Lee Gray had a shot stopped by the keeper's right foot before Gary Di Folco fired another effort wide.

 

It was vital for Milanda to get the first goal of the second period but, to their frustration, Crosslands made it 4-0 in the 50th minute.Milanda got one back quickly after that. Thomas Addison's long throw was head-flicked back by Murray for Richard Addison to nod home at the far post.This sparked a good spell of play from the visitors which saw Di Folco have a shot well saved and then Cannon fire one that was deflected wide.

 

Finally Milanda got another goal when Di Folco slipped the ball sideways to Gray who beat the keeper with a low shot from inside the box. It was still a tall order to get back on level terms in the short time available but at least there was hope - for a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, a mistake by Murray in his rush to get another attack going saw Crosslands cash in to make it 5-2.

 

It was no disgrace to lose away to a team from the division above but it was frustrating that they didn't have to work too hard for their goals.

 

MOM: Gary Di Folco. Things didn't always come off for him but he never stopped trying to change the pattern of the game, so he just pips his hard-working midfield partner, Colin Kelly, for this week's award

 

TEAM: Mitchell, T Addison (O'Donnell), Evans, C Murray, Thomson, Gray, Di Folco, C Kelly, R Addison, Allan, Gregg (Cannon). Sub not used: Cairney.

 

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John Rae Trophy quarter-final. Lochend Sports Centre.

 

AC MILANDA 1 KINGS PARK ROVERS 7 Scorer C Murray

 

Milanda finally managed to find a playable pitch for their John Rae Trophy quarter-final but wished they hadn't bothered as they suffered yet another embarrassing defeat at the hands of Kings Park Rovers. Kings Park, who have former Partick Thistle player Jered Stirling in their ranks, are a good outfit so you have to have a strong team out against them to have a chance.

 

Most of the weeks that the game was called off, Milanda had a full complement. However, on this occasion there were 10 fit players and no recognised goalkeeper. The outcome was inevitable.Mark Hutton courageously agreed to play, despite carrying an ankle injury, which meant there was a starting X1 but the players were clearly rusty after a long lay-off and poor first half saw Kings Park 3-0 ahead.

 

Mind you, one of their goals looked offside, one was deflected into the net and the other was a goalkeeping error by stand-in No.1 Thomas Addison who gave one of his more eccentric performances. Olives had been taken.Add to that the fact that Colin Kelly had a netbound shot cleared off the line and Jamie Hughes missed a decent chance and the scoreline at the break might have looked better.

 

With wind advantage for the second half, and Sean Hughes, who had only turned up to watch to watch his brother, replacing the hobbling Hutton, Milanda harboured hopes of clawing back the deficit.But Marc Allan missed an early chance after a brilliant run on the left by Ricky Addison and there was a heavy price to pay for that when Kings Park went straight upfield and made it 4-0.

 

Then came Milanda's best spell when they should really have been right back in it but chances were missed and only one goal was produced. Creagh Murray was the scorer, rifling the loose ball home after Jamie Hughes had seen his shot saved.Allan looked certain to score Milanda's second from a Gary Di Folco cross but his header slipped agonisingly wide.

 

Kings Park didn't waste their openings, though, and added three more day to add to Milanda's misery on a horribly cold and wet morning.

 

MOM: Creagh Murray gave a powerful performance in midfield and took his goal well.

 

TEAM: T Addison, Hutton (S Hughes), Evans, Thomson, Haggerty, J Hughes, Di Folco, C Murray, R Addison, Allan, Kelly.

 

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GDSML. Stepford.

 

AC MILANDA 0 BRAEHEAD 3

 

League leaders Braehead were too good for Milanda on yet another Saturday that made the case for summer football.A strong and bitterly cold wind spoiled the game as a spectacle. Braehead had it at their backs in the first half and scored two goals.

 

Milanda had it after the break but, despite enjoying the bulk of the attacking play, rarely troubled the Braehead keeper. And Braehead added a third goal from the penalty spot in the dying seconds.

 

Milanda had one chance in the first half when Andy Gregg put Colin Kelly through and his shot finished just off target. In the second half, Gregg fired a free-kick over the bar and a debatable offside decision against Kelly prevented Milanda cutting the deficit to 2-1. Apart from these incidents, there was little of note to report.

 

MOM: Milanda's players put in plenty of effort but lacked the attacking spark to get something out of the game. Creagh Murray was the standout performer for the second game running with a superb performance, this time in central defence.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, C Murray, Evans, Thomson, Haggerty (Cairney), Di Folco, Kelly, Hughes (Gray), R Addison, Gregg Allan (Cannon).

 

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GDSML. Stepford.

 

AC MILANDA 1 STRATHCLYDE UNIVERSITY 3 Scorer Di Folco

 

A good opportunity missed would be the summing-up of another frustrating Saturday morning. With the number of players they have to choose from, Strathclyde University sides are always good and sometimes brilliant. The one facing Milanda was good but we have played better and the fact that they appeared to have a non-keeper between the sticks meant they were there for the taking.

 

Unfortunately, Milanda proved incapable of getting even a draw thanks to the weekly habit of gifting goals to the opposition.The day started well with Milanda scoring after seven minutes. An excellent ball over the defence by Richard Addison sent Gary Di Folco clear and he won a duel with the keeper and the break of the ball before slotting it into the empty net.There was a chance for a second goal after a tremendous run by Colin Kelly but Creagh Murray couldn't get his shot on target.

 

Strathclyde equalised after 36 minutes, although there was a suspicion of offside, and went 2-1 ahead four minutes later when a long ball caught Milanda napping.The half-time score wasn't a fair reflection of the overall play so Milanda started the second period full of hope.

 

They could have equalised after just five minutes when a quickly taken corner by Colin Kelly gave Lee Cairney an opening inside the box but the big man shot too high. Then Di Folco powered down the right and cut the ball back for Lee Gray who sent his effort wide.

 

Having missed chances to be 3-2 ahead, Milanda then found themselves 3-1 behind after an error by stand-in keeper Thomas Addison. He later made a good save low to his left to prevent Strathclyde increasing their lead.Milanda kept going to the bitter end, with Kelly and Di Folco doing a power of running, but on a day when shots on target were going to trouble a nervous No.1, the team could not come up with any.

 

Richard Addison, who was moved up front for the final part of the game, hit one wide, Andy Gregg had a header over the top and Di Folco couldn't keep his free-kick down from a promising position.

 

All in all, a bad day at the office.

 

MOM: The midfield was the best part of the team this time. Ricky Haggerty and Richard Addison did well in the wide positions, with central midfielder Lee Cairney giving the team a good hour after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury. But fellow central men Gary Di Folco and Colin Kelly were the standouts and didn't deserve to finish as losers. Either would be worthy of this week's Man of the Match award but Gary just nicks it for having scored the Milanda goal.

TEAM: T Addison, Evans, C Murray, Gray, Haggerty, Cairney (Thomson), Di Folco, Kelly, R Addison, Cannon, Gregg.