Season 10/11

 

Season 2010-11

 

Milanda scoop up another trophy with a 5-2 demolotion of Vale Utd to win the Vince McGlinchey Trophy

Codger Kelly scores a hat-trick on his way to being top goalscorer and Player of the Year.

Adda scored, no honestly he did. then left to play for someone else.

 

Milanda's score always comes first

 

Match reports are below the stats.

Date

Opponent

Comp

Home\Away

Score

Scorers

Aug 21st

Allander

League

A

1 - 0

McDonald

Aug 28th

Renfrew Town

League

H

1 - 2

Gallacher

Sept 7th

Ballieston Thistle

WM Drummond

A

1 - 1

Colvin

Sept 11th

Strathclyde Uni

League

H

1 - 3

Johnstone

Sept 18th

Vale Utd

League

A

1 - 4

Coyle

Sept 25th

Ashfield

WM Drummond

A

2 - 4

Lawlor, Russell

Oct 2nd

Ashfield

League

A

1 - 1

Kelly

Oct 9th

Andrew Watt

League

H

3 - 1

Johnstone, Lawlor, Kelly

Oct 16th

Red Star Ballieston

League

A

4 - 1

Lawlor, Kelly (2), Moray

Oct 23rd

Pursuers

League

A

5 - 2

Johnstone 3, Kelly 2

Oct 30th

Blantyre

GDSML Cup

H

8 - 0

Johnstone 2, Kelly 2, Coyle 2, Addison, Lawlor

Nov 6th

Glasgow Islay

League

A

2 - 1

Lawlor, Evans

Nov 13th

Invac

League

H

2 - 3

Johnstone, McColgan

Nov 20th

Kilpatrick Thistle

League

H

1 - 2

Colvin

Jan 22nd

AFC Columba

GDSML Cup

A

4 - 2

Johnstone, Lawlor 2, Grehan

Jan 29th

Eastwood Park

GDSML Cup

H

2 - 2

Kelly, Grehan - Eastwood win on pens

Jan 31st

Renfrew Town

League

A

1 - 2

Grehan

Feb 5th

Ashfield

League

H

2 - 4

Kelly, Johnstone

Feb 12th

Allander

League

H

2 - 3

Johnstone, Kelly

Feb 19th

Garnethill

Vince McGlinchey

A

2 - 1

Kelly, Johnstone

Feb 26th

Vale Utd

League

H

1 - 5

Kelly

Mar 5th

Garnethil

League

H

4 - 4

Kelly (3), Stapleton

Mar 19th

Invac

League

A

2 - 4

Kelly, Lawlor

Mar 26th

Kilpatrick Thistle

Vince McGlinchey

A

3 - 3

Coyle, Lawlor, Johnstone - Milanda win on pens

Apr 2nd

Ballieston Thistle

League

A

2 - 4

Lawlor (2)

Apr 9th

Kilpatrick Thistle

League

A

3 - 3

Johnstone, Kelly, McColgan

Apr 16th

Garnethill

League

H

2 - 3

Grehan, Ross

Apr 19th

Islay

League

H

3 - 2

Johnstone 2, Kelly

Apr 26th

Pursuers

League

H

7 - 4

Kelly 3, Ross, Johnstone 2, own goal

Apr 30th

Red Star Ballieston

League

H

5 - 0

Own goal, Grehan, Coyle 2, 1 pen, Lawlor

May 10th

Strathclyde Uni

League

A

4 - 4

Kelly, Johnstone, Russell, Coyle pen

May 14th

Andrew Watt

League

A

3 - 2

Smiley 2, Kelly

May 21st

Ballieston Thistle

League

H

1 - 1

Lawlor

May 28th

Vale Utd

Vince McGlinchey Final

N

5 - 1

Lawlor, Kelly 3, Grehan

Appearances

 

League

William Drummond

GDSML Cup

Vince McGlinchey

Total

P. Ross

23 (1)

2

3

3

32

G. Evans

23 (1)

2

2

3

31

M. Johnstone

24 (1)

1

2

3

31

C. Fawns

22

2

3

3

30

C. Kelly

21

2

3

3

29

K. Grehan

18 (2)

1

2 (1)

3

27

P. Moray

21

1

2

3

27

L. Colvin

15 (2)

2

2

3

24

R. Lawlor

17 (1)

1

3

2

24

M. Coyle

12 (6)

(1)

3

(1)

23

M. Russell

12 (3)

1

2

1

19

M. McColgan

11 (2)

-

1 (1)

1

16

D. O'Neill

10 (2)

-

1 (1)

(2)

16

G. Difalco

9 (1)

-

1

2

13

P. Gallacher

7 (2)

1

1

-

11

A. Scott

3 (3)

1 (1)

1

-

9

K. Williamson

4 (5)

1

-

(2)

12

J. Binnie

4 (3)

-

(1)

(1)

9

T. Addison

2 (4)

2

(1)

-

9

P. Malone

2 (4)

1

-

(1)

8

D. Miele

2 (3)

-

-

(2)

7

N. MacDougall

1 (3)

-

-

2

6

T. Williams

1 (3)

-

1

-

5

R. Macdonald

3

2

-

-

5

A. Smiley

2 (1)

-

-

-

3

L. Stapleton

1

-

-

-

1

J. Cannon

1

-

-

-

1

F. Glen

1

-

-

-

1

M. Conn

1

-

-

-

1

T. Carberry

1

-

-

-

1

Trialist

5 (1)

-

-

-

6

 

Goals

 

League

William Drummond

GDSML Cup

Vince McGlinchey

Total

Kelly

20

-

3

4

27

Johnstone

14

-

3

2

19

Lawlor

8

-

3

2

13

Coyle

4

-

2

1

7

Grehan

3

-

2

1

6

Colvin

1

1

-

-

2

McColgan

2

-

-

-

2

Ross

2

-

-

-

2

Smiley

2

-

-

-

2

Russell

1

1

-

-

2

Moray

1

-

-

-

1

Addison

-

-

1

-

1

Macdonald

1

-

-

-

1

Gallacher

1

-

-

-

1

Stapleton

1

-

-

-

1

Evans

1

-

-

-

1

Own goal

2

-

-

-

2

Match Reports

 

GDSML

 

Allander 0 AC Milanda 1

 

Scorer: McDonald.

 

TEAM: Fawns, Ross (Addison), Colvin, Evans, Moray, McDonald, Grehan (McColgan), Russell, Kelly, Coyle (Scott), Johnstone.

.

 

MILANDA got their league campaign up and running with a good win over a young Allander side.

 

The players looked fit and sharp considering the difficulty in getting pre-season games arranged and pretty much dominated from start to finish.

Assistant manager’s Scott Grant pre-match warm-up obviously did the trick because the team began the match at a good tempo and had Allander on the back foot.

 

Some of the passing and movement was excellent and but for the fact that the wrong option was sometimes taken in the box there would have been at least a goal to show for Milanda’s efforts at the interval. However, the breakthrough came 10 minutes into the second half when McDonald rose powerfully in the six-yard box to head in a corner from Grehan into the roof of the net.

 

There should have been more goals to follow but Johnstone hit the bar, substitute Scot fired one into the side netting and Kelly passed up an excellent opening after doing all the hard work in the lead-up.

 

With only a slender advantage, there was always the chance Allander would nick a goal on the break but the defence looked solid and there were only a couple of scary moments before the points were finally safe.

 

MOM: With no failures in the side, the award could have gone to just about anyone but goals win games and so the recipient has to be the hard-working McDonald.

 

----------

GDSML. Stepford.

 

AC Milanda 1 (Gallacher) Renfrew Town 2

 

TEAM: Fawns, Ross, Colvin, Evans, Moray, McColgan (Addison), Grehan, Russell, Kelly (Coyle), Johnstone, Gallacher. Subs not used: Scott, Malone.

 

MILANDA threw away a golden opportunity to take at least a point from one of the form teams of the GDSML.

 

Last season’s league runners-up have made a good start to the current campaign but Milanda had them rattled and arguing amongst themselves in the first half.

 

The opening goal came after 13 minutes. Brilliant play by Colin Kelly on the right saw him wriggle his way past a couple of defenders and cut the ball back from the byeline for debutant Paul Gallacher to slam the ball into the roof of the net.

 

Milanda restricted their opponents to one real chance in the opening 45 minutes, a header that went past Craig Fawns’ right-hand post.

 

The lead should have been doubled just before the break when Marc McColgan was brought down by the Renfrew keeper as he tried to latch on to a loose ball in the box. Lee Colvin, who had put a penalty past the same keeper when he was between the sticks for Allander last season, this time blasted the ball over the bar and almost into orbit.

 

Lifted by this let-off, Renfrew improved in the second half but still needed the help of slack play by Milanda to turn things around.

 

Kelly gifted possession to Renfrew on what should have been a promising Milanda break and they took full advantage to make it 1-1.

 

Milanda were unlucky not to take the lead again when a Paul Moray corner fell to Kevin Grehan but his shot was pushed over the bar by the keeper.

 

What proved to be the winner came in the 65th minute when Milanda switched off at the back and allowed a cross to find one of the Renfrew players unmarked in the middle of the box and he easily beat Fawns.

 

Milanda tried hard to get back on terms, including switching to a 3-4-3 formation but their best efforts, shots by Gallacher and Mark Russell, missed the target.

 

Although the result was disappointing, Milanda gave a good account of themselves overall against one of the teams that will be challenging for the title.

 

But once again the lesson was that if you don’t take your chances the good sides will punish any mistakes you make.

 

MOM: Moray. Solid at the back where he made a couple of vital clearances and always eager to help in attack.

 

----------

William Drummond Trophy sectional tie

 

AC Milanda 1 (Colvin), Baillieston Thistle 1

 

Team: Fawns, Addison, Evans, Colvin, Scott, Ross, Grehan, McDonald, Malone (Coyle), Kelly, Johnstone.

 

MILANDA recorded their best ever result against GDSML champions Baillieston Thistle with a gutsy performance at Stepford.

 

Considering there were only 11 players to pick from at the start of the match and only one more appeared, the team deserves enormous credit.

 

Baillieston, who had already beaten the other team in the section, Ashfield, will feel they should have taken all three points here also, especially as they missed a penalty but Milanda got their reward for a battling display.

 

Kevin Grehan came close a couple of times early in the match but Milanda had two escapes at the other end.

 

A Baillieston header from a corner was cleared off the line by Andy Scott and then a shot struck the outside of Craig Fawns’ left-hand post after he had lost possession of the ball by fair means or foul, depending on whose version of events you choose to believe.

 

But it was the home side that made the breakthrough after 20 minutes. A Grehan free-kick was head-flicked by Martin Johnstone and looked to be drifting wide but Lee Colvin didn’t give it up and managed to knock the ball into the net from a tight angle at the far post.

 

Colvin was also at the centre of things 15 minutes later when the referee awarded what looked a harsh penalty for hand ball against him. However, the normally deadly Brian Wilson knocked the spot-kick wide and Milanda got the break they perhaps deserved.

 

However, they still couldn’t reach the break ahead because Baillieston equalised following a long throw that should have been defended better.

 

No goals after the break but both teams had chances. From a Colin Kelly pass, Johnstone rounded the keeper and shot into the side netting. Then Kelly forced an excellent save from the keeper after a swift Milanda counter-attack.

 

Baillieston also came close once or twice, notably late in the match when one of their players headed off target from good position.

 

MOM: Absolutely no failures again but Gerry Evans and Lee Colvin were especially good at the back and Martin Johnstone and Colin Kelly worked tremendously hard all over the pitch. Special mention also to Paul Malone and Andy Scott who slotted in well despite their lack of games lately. But pipping them all for top man was Kevin Grehan who stamped his authority on the middle of the park from first minute to last.

 

----------

GDSML. Stepford.

 

AC Milanda 1 (Johnstone), Strathclyde University 3

 

TEAM: Fawns, Addison, Evans, Colvin, Ross, McDonald, Grehan, Kelly, Coyle (Russell), Gallacher, Johnstone. Subs not used: Malone, Scott, Williams (trialist).

 

THREE goals inside a six-minute period of the first half killed off Milanda and ensured the students took full points away from Stepford.

 

Milanda played much better in the second half and might have nicked a point but a combination of good goalkeeping, poor finishing and bad luck ensured this didn’t happen.

 

With Strathclyde University having so many players on their books, some of them operating in the elite Caledonian League, you never quite know what standard of opposition to expect.

 

But it was quickly evident this sweet-moving side was more like the one that had thumped Renfrew 9-2 in the William Drummond Trophy in midweek than that which had lost 7-5 to Red Star Baillieston in the same competition a couple of weeks earlier.

 

Milanda gave as good as they got early on with Rod McDonald having a drive saved and Colin Kelly shooting into the side net.

 

But Milanda were guilty of giving the ball away too often and losing concentration in defence and this contributed to Strathclyde going 3-0 ahead with goals in the 20th, 24th and 26th minutes.

 

Milanda pulled one back on the half-hour. Martin Johnstone fastened on to a huge kick-out by keeper Craig Fawns and produced some of his twisty-turny magic to shake off his marker and squeeze a shot into the corner of the net.

 

Johnstone then had a good shot saved after being set up by Martin Coyle but Strathclyde also came close to increasing their lead on a couple of occasions.

 

Fawns produced a wonder save to keep out one shot, with Gerry Evans adding a fabulous clearance to ensure the visitors didn’t get a second bite at it.

 

Then Lee Colvin made a timely goal-line clearance to prevent a Fawns error gifting Strathclyde their fourth.

 

With wind advantage in the second half, Milanda had much more of the play and should have had at least another goal.

 

Kelly hit a shot against the keeper’s right-hand post after weaving his way into the box and the Strathclyde No.1 denied Kevin Grehan with a powerful blocking save when a goal seemed certain.

 

In the end, Milanda paid for their first-half lapses but there is no doubt the better side won.

 

MOM: There were some good individual performances, especially in the second period, but overall Martin Johnstone was the pick of the bunch. Great goal, great work rate.

 

----------

GDSML - Lochend

 

Vale United 4 AC Milanda 1 (Coyle pen)

 

TEAM: Fawns, Cannon, Evans, Colvin, Moray, McDonald (Binnie), Grehan, McColgan (Williams), Gallacher, Johnstone, Coyle

 

TEAMS often suffer a hangover from a heavy defeat but this time Milanda had theirs before kick-off.

 

A combination of illness, injuries, holidays, work commitments and drunkenness meant this was one of the worst weeks in the club’s history in terms of trying to get a team together. And, of course, we did have to be playing the league leaders into the bargain.

 

Nine call-offs forced the inclusion of two trialists and four drunks in the line-up and they did astonishingly well to hold Vale until the 68th minute. That was when they went 2-1 up and the stubborn resistance wafted away in an alcoholic cloud.

 

Thomas Addison did well to get Joe Cannon along as a trialist from his Sunday team and Martin Johnstone had work-mate Tony Williams with him to bolster the squad. Paul Moray managed to get another three of those who had joined him at a stag do the previous night out of bed on Saturday morning to take part.

 

The kick-off was delayed 15 minutes due to his quartet’s late arrival but Milanda started surprisingly well and should have taken the lead early on when Marc McColgan played Johnstone in behind the Vale defence and his shot went agonisingly wide.

 

Vale took the lead after 10 minutes when a cross to the back post was poorly defended and the ball was headed home.

 

However, six minutes later Milanda equalised after one of the Vale defenders had handled an awkwardly bouncing ball in the box. Martin Coyle took the penalty and made an immaculate job it, smashing the ball high into the net.

 

Another excellent piece of play on the right saw Coyle get away from the full-back and cut the ball back for Johnstone whose stabbed effort again finished past the post.

 

Milanda were doing well but Vale had more of the ball and they were unlucky not to regain the lead twice before the break, Craig Fawns pulling off one superb save before being beaten by another shot that smacked off the bar.

 

Vale kept pressing in the second period and the Milanda goal led a charmed life for a while. One shot hit Fawns’ left-hand post and others were blocked as the players hung on in the hope of a point.

 

However, once a low shot beat Fawns for their second goal the writing was on the wall and Vale added two more, one from a breakaway following a Milanda corner and one from a close-range header.

 

Milanda kept trying, though, and Johnstone, who never stopped running all day, was unlucky when he broke into the box and the Vale keeper made a brave save at his feet.

 

All in all, a more than decent effort by a depleted team. For all Vale were the better side, they were worried about taking full points for a long spell of the second half.

 

MOM: Paul Moray. Without him there would have been no match.

 

----------

William Drummond Trophy sectional tie. Stepford.

 

Ashfield 4 AC Milanda 2 (Lawlor, Russell)

 

TEAM: Fawns, Addison, Colvin (Scott), Evans, Moray, Ross, McDonald, Russell, Kelly, Lawlor, Gallacher.

 

ANOTHER late collapse saw Milanda finish bottom of their William Drummond Trophy section.

 

Two goals ahead with 12 minutes to play, they somehow contrived to lose three goals in three minutes and then shipped a fourth to make it a disastrous seven-minute spell.

 

In fairness, Milanda had been riding their luck a little up until the point where it all started to go wrong but it seemed inconceivable they would not take at least a draw from the game and that would have assured progress into the quarter-finals of the Vince McGlinchey Trophy consolation tournament.

 

But all the good work done in the 1-1 draw with the other team in the section, Baillieston Thistle, was simply thrown away.

 

A combination of holidays, injuries and illness meant Milanda had only 12 players to choose from and some of them were carrying knocks but for more than and hour they performed well against an Ashfield team much stronger than they were when they went by the name of Glasgow Athletic.

 

A first-half injury to Lee Colvin meant an earlier than expected entry for sole substitute Andy Scott and a reshuffle of the team but they still reached the break a goal up thanks to a well-worked goal by Russell Lawlor in the 36th minute.

 

Thomas Addison did well to win an aerial duel and Paul Moray knocked the ball forward to Lawlor who also beat his opponent in the air before running on to lob the advancing keeper.

 

Ashfield had probably had more shots at goal in the first 45 minutes but most finished off target and the one that was going in was superbly pushed over the bar by keeper Craig Fawns.

 

It was 2-0 on the hour mark. This time Lawlor burst into the box on the right and weaved past a couple of defenders before laying the ball on a plate for Mark Russell to side-foot his low shot past the keeper.

 

Milanda didn’t make the most of another couple of good counter-attacks and they paid the price when sloppy defensive play completely changed the match from the 78th minute onwards.

 

Ashfield, who had lost 5-1 in their other tie with Baillieston, must have thought all their birthdays had come at once as they were gifted four goals to take second spot in the three-team section.

 

A bitterly disappointing day for Milanda who had suffered a similar collapse in the league against Vale United and also lost three quick goals to Strathclyde University.

Despite the fact there was not a full-strength squad on the day, the outcome should have been much better than it was.

 

MOM: Russell Lawlor kept the Ashfield defenders busy all morning, took his goal brilliantly and also set up the second. You can’t ask for much more than that.

 

----------

GDSML - Glasgow Green

 

Ashfield Ams 1 AC Milanda 1 (Kelly)

 

Team: Fawns, Binnie (Trialist), Ross, Evans, Moray, Gallacher, Grehan, Russell, Kelly, Lawlor, Johnstone (Coyle). Sub not used: Scott.

 

MILANDA took a point from a hard-fought clash thanks to a late goal from Colin Kelly.

Based on the first-half performance this could have been a win but missed chances saw Milanda turn a goal behind.

 

The second half was more even but this time Ashfield failed to take some good chances and paid the price when Codger struck.

 

A draw was probably the fairest result and it was heartening that there was no repeat of the late collapse against the same team a week earlier in the William Drummond Trophy.

 

Injuries and call-offs again forced Milanda to have players out of their normal positions but the team started well and dominated the first half-hour. Gerry Evans headed against the woodwork from a Kevin Grehan cross and Kelly hurriedly fired a cutback from Russell Lawlor wide when more composure might have produced a goal.

 

Other promising attacks should have paid dividends but sometimes the final ball was poor or players took the wrong option.

 

Ashfield came more into the game towards the break and took the lead when their left-back wasn't closed down and netted a swerving shot from long-range.

Keeper Craig Fawns felt he should have done better with that one but he had a good save a minute later to prevent the home team going 2-0 ahead.

 

Milanda kept pushing for an equaliser in the second half, often leaving themselves stretched at the back.

 

Ashfield didn't take advantage, although Evans did thwart them with a good goal-line clearance, so Milanda were always in with a shout of taking at least a point. Kelly headed a Grehan free-kick over and then forced the keeper into a good save from his cross-cum-shot.

 

Substitute Martin Coyle had a telling influence and set up Kelly for another effort that the keeper saved. Lawlor also had a shot blocked as Ashfield stood firm.

 

When a Kelly shot flashed inches wide with seven minutes left it looked as if the game would in in frustration for Milanda but at last the goal arrived.

 

Paul Moray played the ball infield to Coyle and he put Kelly through the middle to finish in style.

 

MOM: Colin Kelly's pace caused Ashfield problems all morning and he got his reward with that late goal.

 

---------

Stepford. GDSML.

 

AC Milanda 3 (Johnstone, Lawlor, Kelly), Andrew Watt 1.

 

Team: Fawns, McColgan, Ross, Evans, Scott, Johnstone, Grehan, Kelly, Moray, Lawlor, Coyle (Trialist). Subs not used: Addison, Trialist 2.

 

MILANDA recorded their first home win of the season in a hard-fought encounter.

 

Strangely, both teams performed better against the wind and it was only late in the game that the points were secured.

 

Andrew Watt, who turned up with just 11 men, had the wind at their backs in the opening period but Milanda made the better chances.

 

Martin Coyle should have broken the deadlock when he broke clear after 20 minutes but his hurried shot was saved by the keeper when he could have gone round him or passed to the unmarked Kevin Grehan.

 

Craig Fawns made a good save from a free-kick shortly after that.

 

But Milanda took the lead in the 25th minute with a well-worked goal. Russell Lawlor did the initial spadework by breaking into the box on the right and crossing for Coyle who laid the ball off expertly for Martin Johnstone to score with a low shot.

 

Five minutes later, Lawlor took a Paul Murray pass and made it 2-0 with a 22-yard shot that left the keeper helpless.

 

Lawlor should have scored again early in the second period after tremendous wing play by Colin Kelly but took too much time in front of goal and saw his shot deflected onto the woodwork and away to safety.

 

Then Lawlor set up Kelly for a shot that was blocked.

 

It looked as if Milanda were starting where they had left off in the first half at this point but then they took their foot off the gas and allowed Andrew Watt to come back into the match.

 

The visiting team close a couple of times before Kelly was caught trying to dribble the ball clear just outside the 18-yard box and one of the Andrew Watt players punished him with a fierce shot into the roof of the net.

 

The momentum of the game had now well and truly switched and, with 25 minutes to go, there was the fear that if Andrew Watt scored again they might go on to win the match.

 

However, the defence held firm and with just a couple of minutes a breakaway saw Milanda clinch the point. Murray’s excellent pass out of defence found Lawlor on the right and his first-time pass into the box enabled Kelly to make up for his earlier mistake by firing home.

 

MOM: Craig Fawns pulled off some important saves and his back four gave him good protection after a shaky first 10 minutes. The midfield, which featured striker Martin Johnstone in unfamiliar territory on the right, worked hard throughout and Martin Coyle was a powerful influence up front until he had to come off near the end so that the engine room could be strengthened. So there were a few contenders for top performer but Russell Lawlor takes it this week for his goal and two assists.

 

----------

GDSML - Stepford

 

Red Star Baillieston 1, AC Milanda 4 (Lawlor, Kelly 2, Moray)

 

Team: Trialist, McColgan, Ross, Evans, Scott, Trialist 2 (Gallacher), Russell, Moray, Kelly, Johnstone, Lawlor (Trialist 3).

 

MILANDA picked up another three points with what was technically an away win on their own ground.

 

Red Star also play at Stepford so the Milanda boys were right at home in a game that was more difficult than the scoreline suggests.

 

Two late goals put a gloss on the performance but at 2-1 Red Star were very much in the game and might easily have pulled level.

 

That said, Milanda were the dominant team for most of the match and could have had the points wrapped up much earlier if their finishing had matched some excellent build-up play.

 

They took the game to their opponents from the word go and the Red Star keeper had good saves from Mark Russell and Russell Lawlor before Martin Johnstone shot into the side netting from a superb through pass by Marc McColgan.

 

With trialist keeper Thomas Carberry looking a safe pair of hands at the other end, it seemed only a matter of time before Milanda broke the deadlock.

 

The goal came after 23 minutes and again McColgan was the supplier with a lobbed ball over a square Red Star defence and Lawlor ran on to blast the ball into the net.

 

Red Star missed an excellent chance to equalise from close range when their forward put the ball past the outrushing Carberry and his right-hand post.

 

They paid for that in 37 minutes when Milanda made it 2-0, Paul Moray hitting a tremendous crossfield pass over the defence to Colin Kelly who ran on to lash the ball past the keeper.

 

Just before the break, Johnstone came close to making it 3-0, knocking Moray’s long throw against the near post.

 

Red Star pushed forward more in the second period to try to get back into the match and Andy Scott made a goal-line clearance to keep Milanda’s lead intact.

 

But there were still plenty of chances for Milanda. Moray had a free-kick superbly saved and Lawlor broke through on to a Russell pass only to see the keeper save his shot with an outstretched leg.

 

Kelly had seen a goal chalked off for offside in the first half and Johnstone suffered the same fate from a pass by Lawlor who should really have buried the chance himself.

 

The misses came back to haunt Milanda when one of the Red Star subs cut the deficit with a well-struck left-foot shot into the corner of the net.

 

For the next 10 or 15 minutes Milanda lived dangerously but then Lawlor set up Moray, looking suspiciously offside, to go through and score Milanda’s third and ease the pressure.

 

Just before the end, Kelly scored No.4 from close range after Johnstone had provided the cutback.

 

MOM: An excellent team performance with some players doing just that little better than the rest. Keeper Carberry was a solid contributor and a good talker at the back, McColgan did particularly well at right-back, Gerry Evans was commanding at centre-back, Russell got through a lot of great work in central midfield and Johnstone, Kelly and Lawlor gave the Red Star defence a tough time throughout. But the man of the match award goes to Moray for a good goal, a wonderful assist and his willingness to stay on the park to the very end despite the fact he was carrying an injury.

 

----------

League

 

Pursuers 2, AC Milanda 5 (Johnstone 3, Kelly 2)

 

Team: Fawns, McColgan (Binnie), Ross (Colvin), Evans, Scott, Gallagher, Grehan, Kelly (Williams), Russell, Lawlor, Johnstone. Subs not used: Paterson, Moray.

 

MILANDA turned the tables on a team that had taken six points out of six from them the previous season by producing a good all-round performance.

 

An excellent start produced a two-goal lead and even though Pursuers fought back to square the match, Milanda found another gear and stuck away three more goals.

 

The only slight disappointment was that Milanda did not end up with a bigger goal tally. In fact, they won the second half just 1-0 despite the fact their opponents played a chunk of it with 10 men following the sending-off of a defender for a foul on Colin Kelly.

 

Chances galore were missed, some of them due to fine goalkeeping by Pursuers’ James White, but the upside is the amount of creativity in the team.

 

That was evident in the opening exchanges when Kelly and Martin Johnstone came close before Milanda broke the deadlock in the 10th minute. It was pretty much a route one goal, with Craig Fawns’ kick-out being collected by Russell Lawlor and quickly played on to Johstone who beat the keeper with a low shot.

 

The second came after 24 minutes. This time Kelly made a superb run from midfield before playing in Johnstone to produce another cool finish.

 

Inexplicably, Milanda allowed Pursuers to get on back on terms with two goals in five minutes. Without wishing to take anything away from Pursuers, the defending for both comes into the sloppy category.

 

However, a minute after their second had hit the Milanda net, the ball was in the rigging at the other end. This time Johnstone was a supplier and Kelly the finisher.

Just after that, Lawlor should have scored from a Mark Russell pass but with only the keeper to beat managed to hit the ball against him.

 

Gerry Evans had a shot cleared off the line following a Kevin Grehan corner but Milanda made it 4-2 just before the break when Johnstone completed his hat-trick from a Lawlor cutback.

 

Seven minutes into the second period, it was 5-2. Paul Gallagher was the provider this time with a neat pass to Kelly who scored with a low shot.

 

Kelly had to go off injured shortly after the foul that brought his opponent a red card and replacement Tony Williams should have had a penalty in his first foray into the box but the referee didn’t seem to spot him being barged off the ball.

 

Lawlor was desperate to get his customary goal, especially with Paul Moray threatening him from the touchline, but despite his best efforts it didn’t happen. Two tremendous openings came his way but both times he was denied by super saves.

 

Andy Scott, who had passed the ball well out of defence all morning, provided the only other second-half highlight with a demonstration of breakdancing before heading a ball clear in midfield. If the BBC ever do a Strictly Come Beakdancing, Andy the Caterpillar could be a sensation.

 

MOM: Another good all-round performance with a spotlight mainly on the midfield and front men due to Milanda’s domination. Paul Gallagher and Mark Russell provided good width in midfield and Colin Kelly, Martin Johnstone and Russell Lawlor were too hot for Pursuers to handle at times up front. Any of the aforementioned would be worthy winners of the accolade but it goes to Johnstone for a well-taken treble.

 

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GDSML Cup first round.

 

AC Milanda 8 (Johnstone 2, Kelly 2, Coyle 2, Addison, Lawlor), Blantyre 0

 

TEAM: Williams, Fawns, Ross, Evans (McColgan), Scott (Addison), Kelly, Russell (Grehan), Moray, Coyle, Johnstone, Lawlor.

 

MILANDA strolled into the second round of the GDSML Cup with a comfortable win over Second Division Blantyre at muddy Stepford.

 

Blantyre did not appear to be at full strength and their keeper suffered an injury early in the match so this was never likely to be a banana skin tie.

 

New recruit Tony Williams, an outfield sub in recent weeks, was given his chance in goal and while he handled everything that came his way competently, he was rarely in serious trouble.

 

The scoring went like this:

 

3 minutes: A through ball by Paul Moray is head-flicked by Martin Coyle to Martin Johnstone and he runs on to shoot home.

 

10 minutes: Mark Russell supplies the pass for Johnstone this time and again he makes no mistake.

 

37 minutes: Russell Lawlor provides the head-flick that puts Colin Kelly clear to make it 3-0.

 

50 minutes: Blantyre fail to clear a corner and Johnstone lays the ball back for Kelly to blast home his second.

 

55 minutes: Moray again involved with a perfect delivery for Coyle to head home at the back post.

 

65 minutes: It’s the first goal in reverse as Johnstone head-flicks the ball on for Coyle to shoot his second.

 

70 minutes: Moray’s corner is brilliantly headed home by substitute Thomas Addison, who had replaced the injured Andy Scott.

 

88 minutes: Another Moray corner is laid off by Coyle to Lawlor who batters the ball low into the far corner of the net.

 

In between the goals there were other near things, most notably a Russell shot that was tipped over the bar by the keeper and a Coyle “goal” that was wrongly disallowed for offside.

 

A good day’s work made even more entertaining by substitute Kevin Grehan’s comical efforts to get on the scoresheet.

 

MOM: It could have been any one of the scorers but they are nothing with a good supplier and Paul Moray was the chief in that department so he receives this week’s accolade. Sorry, Adda.

 

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Paisley Racecourse. GDSML

 

Glasgow Islay 1, AC Milanda 2 (Lawlor, Evans).

 

TEAM: Fawns, Ross, Evans, Colvin, Kelly, McColgan (Addison), Russell, Moray, Lawlor, Johnstone (Williams), Coyle.

 

MILANDA came from behind to take three points and stretch their unbeaten run to six matches.

 

Islay’s strength and physical fitness have always given Milanda problems so to come back from a goal down to beat them on their own patch speaks volumes for the ability and confidence of the team at the moment.

 

Colin Kelly had a good chance to open the scoring in the 10th minute after some neat build-up play but the combined efforts of the keeper and one of his defenders denied him.

 

Islay went straight up the pitch and made it 1-0. Milanda stupidly tried to play offside in the lead-up to the goal, then found themselves all over the place as one of the home forwards scored with a good shot over the outstretched fingertips of keeper Craig Fawns.

 

Although Milanda played some good passing football in the first half, they didn’t create much in the way of clear-cut chances and were fortunate not to turn around 2-0 down. Another quick Islay counter-attack saw one of their forwards shoot wide when one on one with Fawns.

 

Milanda took a grip of the game early in the second period and Marc McColgan came close before the equaliser arrived in the 52nd minute. Paul Moray and Martin Coyle were involved before Martin Johnstone played the telling ball through to Russell Lawlor who calmly lobbed it over the advancing keeper. A quality finish.

 

The keeper pushed away a Kelly shot after Johnstone had provided the lay-off and then Coyle headed wide from a super deep cross by Lawlor.

 

There was a feeling on the sidelines Milanda would have to score again during this period of sustained pressure and the players duly provided another stunning goal in the 64th minute.

 

Defender Gerry Evans started and finished the move, powering forward from the back, slipping the ball to Mark Russell and then continuing his run to meet his cross with a volley that gave the keeper no chance.

 

Surely a contender for goal of the season even at this early stage of the campaign.

 

Knowing Islay would chase an equaliser until the last kick of the ball, Milanda were keen to get another goal to give themselves breathing space.

 

Lawlor had a shot saved, Kelly was denied and other good breaks were squandered because of a misplaced pass or the wrong option was taken.

 

Fortunately, none of the misses proved fatal as Islay’s pressure didn’t cause any real threat and Milanda went home with another good win under their belts.

 

MOM: Every player would get at least eight out of 10 in an excellent team performance. Those who did even better and were therefore in contention for man of the match were Gerry Evans, Marc McColgan, Mark Russell, Russell Lawlor and Martin Johnstone. A difficult choice this week but for his general work-rate and contribution to the winning goal, the award goes to Mark Russell. Paul Moray’s appeal against this decision, along with a number of pending appeals from Martin “Mr Offside” Coyle, will be heard at an executive committee meeting prior to the next match.

 

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GDSML. Stepford

 

AC Milanda 2 (Johnstone pen, McColgan), Invac 3

 

Team: Fawns, Ross, Evans, Colvin, Kelly, Russell (Gallacher), McColgan, Moray, Johnstone, Lawlor, Williams (Grehan). Subs not used: Addison, Scott, O'Neill.

 

MILANDA'S hopes of taking their unbeaten run to a magnificent seven games ended up stuck in the Stepford mud as they went down to a powerful Invac side.

 

Even after being fortunate to come back from 2-0 down to 2-2, Milanda could not take advantage and conceded the only goal of the second period.

 

The performance was particularly disappointing after seeing the team cope with the physical threat of Glasgow Islay seven days earlier and take three points from them.

This time the passing was poor, the decision making left a lot to be desired and the general competitiveness was missing.

 

A heavy pitch certainly suited Invac more but Milanda should still have done better and after a number of good results this will just have to go down as a bad day at the office.

After going a goal behind in the 26th minute, Milanda suffered another setback when striker Tony Williams had to be replaced due to an ankle injury. This meant a change of formation which had only been in operation for a few minutes when Invac went 2-0 ahead from a right-wing cross that floated over the outstretched fingers of keeper Craig Fawns and landed in the corner of the net.

 

Milanda were gifted a way back into the game in the 35th minute when the Invac keeper delayed over clearing a ball that had been thrown back to him and was forced to bring down Martin Johnstone after he had nicked possession. Referee Forbes Robertson booked the keeper and Johnstone coolly stuck away the spot-kick.

 

A minute before the break, it was 2-2. A long throw by Paul Moray was head-flicked back by Lee Colvin and Marc McColgan knocked the ball home from close range.

Having got to the break level, the opportunity was there for Milanda to go on and win the match, even though Invac now had wind advantage.

 

Colvin headed a Moray corner over the top and Mark Russell had a shot saved before having to be replaced by Paul Gallacher due to injury.

 

Milanda thought they were due another penalty when the keeper again brought down Johnstone after making a hash of a throw-out but the referee didn't agree and waved play on.

 

Invac then scored what proved to be the winner in the 63rd minute after poor defending by Milanda.

 

The visitors might have made the scoreline more emphatic but a rasping shot that beat Fawns came back off the bar.

 

MOM: Lee Colvin. Worked hard all morning and tried to help an out-of-sorts attack whenever possible.

 

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GDSML. Stepford.

 

AC Milanda 1 (Colvin), Kilpatrick Th 2.

 

Team: Trialist, Ross, Evans, Colvin, Moray, Johnstone, Grehan, Russell (Addison), Kelly, Coyle, Lawlor. Subs not used: Binnie, O'Neill, Scott.

 

MILANDA made it two defeats on the trot with another below-par performance at Stepford against Kilpatrick Thistle.

 

Despite the fact the team did not play well, a point would have been taken but for an unfortunate mistake by substitute Thomas Addison in his farewell performance that gifted the away team victory.

 

It was not how Adda would have wanted to go out after almost 10 years with the club but perhaps summed up why he had not had more starts.

 

We wish him well with Tantallon in the Strathclyde Saturday Morning League and thank him for his past efforts, which included one of the best goals ever scored by a Milanda player when we beat Bellahouston to win the Referees Shield in 2003.

 

His early involvement in this game was due to an injury picked up by midfielder Mark Russell during a poor first half.

 

Milanda had a number of reasonable chances but failed to take them. Martin Coyle fluffed one shot from a Paul Moray delivery and followed that up with a better effort that fizzed wide.

 

Moray fired a free-kick over the bar, Martin Johnstone missed the target from a Moray throw and Colin Kelly shot hurriedly wide from a promising position.

 

Kilpatrick, who were passing the ball better without making a lot of clear-cut chances, then took the lead in the 33rd minute from a free-kick that gave trialist keeper Liam Harkins no chance.

 

Milanda tried to get back on terms before the break but the closest they came was when Lee Colvin headed a Kevin Grehan free-kick too high.

 

However, it was Colvin who levelled matters in the 57th minute. A Moray corner hit Grehan in the sore bits and bounced kindly for Colvin to lash the ball into the roof of the net.

 

It was anybody's game now but a careless pass by Addison left Colvin exposed and Kilpatrick powered forward to score.

 

Milanda tried to the bitter end to equalise again but only Johnstone and Colvin came close.

 

MOM: Despite claiming to be a dead-ball specialist and yet again failing to even make the keeper work from a free-kick, Paul Moray takes the man of the match award for a decent performance on a day when few in Milanda colours played to potential.

 

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GDSML CUP 2nd round. Stepford.

 

AFC Columba 2, AC Milanda 4 (Johnstone, Lawlor 2, Grehan).

 

Team: Fawns, Ross, Colvin (Binnie), Evans, Moray (O’Neill), Gallacher, Grehan, Johnstone, Coyle, Kelly, Lawlor.

 

MILANDA made it through to the quarter-finals of the GDSML Cup with an excellent win.

 

However, victory was achieved at cost as left-back Paul Moray had to be carried off in the first half with a serious leg wound that will take some time to heal.

 

Assistant manager Scott Grant escorted him to hospital where he had to have a

deep gash stitched. No one is quite sure how the injury came about – it may have been caused by a piece of glass – but the good news is Paul was fairly chirpy after receiving medical attention and promises to be back sooner rather than later. We wish him all the best.

 

Dave O’Neill made his comeback from a long-term injury to replace him midway through an even first half.

 

Craig Fawns was the first keeper called into serious action to make a good block from Columba’s Martin Coyle. His Milanda namesake then wasted a superb chance when he failed to put his diving header on target from an inch-perfect Moray cross.

 

Kevin Grehan came closer with a well-struck free-kick that the keeper touched over the bar.

 

The breakthrough came seven minutes into the second period. A Russell Lawlor free-kick was headed down by Coyle to Martin Johnstone who thumped the ball home from close range.

 

Milanda then enjoyed a good spell of pressure but numerous chances were passed up until the 69th minute when Lawlor pounced on a slack passback by David Blakely to score the goal that provided some breathing space.

 

Lawlor fired in a third six minutes later but then Milanda became a little slack and allowed Columba to reduce the leeway.

 

However, Grehan scored No.4 from a corner that the keeper, who seemed to have one eye on the lurking Coyle, pushed into his own net.

 

Columba scored again before the end but there was never any danger of them altering the scoreline further and so a team that has caused Milanda problems home and away in recent seasons had to accept defeat this time.

 

MOM: A good team performance after a lengthy lay-off with everyone playing a part. Dave O’Neill did really well on his return and special mention must also be made of the work rate of Paul Gallacher, Martin Johnstone, Kevin Grehan and Martin Coyle but man of the match goes to Russell Lawlor for two goals and an assist.

 

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Crookfur Park. GDSML Cup quarter-final.

 

AC Milanda 2 (Kelly, Grehan), Eastwood Park 2. - Eastwood Park win 4-3 on penalties.

 

Team: Fawns, Ross, Colvin, Evans, O’Neill, Kelly, Coyle, Grehan, McColgan, Russell, Lawlor. Sub not used: Binnie.

 

MILANDA missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the GDSML Cup when they were second best in a penalty shootout.

 

Having done well to finish level against a good young Eastwood Park side, the chance was there to nick the glory but they couldn’t take it.

 

The boost of seeing the home team fail with the first penalty lasted only until Milanda’s second by keeper Craig Fawns was saved and when Kevin Grehan put No.5 over the bar, it was all over.

 

For the record, Martin Coyle, Mark Russell and Russell Lawlor all tucked their penalties away.

 

Eastwood, challenging for promotion to the top division, probably deserved to go through because they edged the 90 minutes.

 

Milanda, without talismanic striker Marin Johnstone, were on the back foot for a lot of the first half but turned around with an advantage thanks to a well-worked goal in the 33rd minute. Coyle sent Lawlor down the right and when the keeper failed to deal with his cross, Colin Kelly nodded the ball into the net.

 

Eastwood equalised with a powerful shot two minutes into the second half after possession had been given away too easily.

 

Then then went 2-1 ahead after a goalmouth scramble.

However, Milanda survived a dodgy period with no further loss and started to look stronger as the game wore on.

 

They pulled level when the keeper failed to gather a Lee Colvin cross under pressure from Marc McColgan and Grehan tapped the ball home.

 

There were chances at both ends in the late stages, Kelly missing the target after doing brilliantly to get through the defence and Coyle hitting the bar with a cross-cum-shot.

 

Eastwood also hit the woodwork a couple of times but in the end it came down to the lottery of a shootout and they had the winning ticket.

 

MOM: Not one of Milanda’s finest days but everyone worked hard and none more so than Martin Coyle.

 

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Seedhill Sports Centre, Paisley. GDSML

 

Renfrew Town 2, AC Milanda 1 (Grehan).

 

Team: Fawns, Miele, Colvin, Addison (Coyle), Binnie, Ross, O’Neill, Grehan, Russell, Gallacher, Johnstone.

 

UNDER-STRENGTH Milanda were denied a valuable league point with the last kick of the game.

 

Having done well to draw level after being behind for most of the match, Milanda had to withstand just one more Renfrew attack – but couldn't do it.

 

Considering there had been so many call-offs and that Martin Johnstone was just getting over a bout of food poisoning, it was a valiant effort by the players who turned up.

 

But there was still a sense of frustration in the dressing room at the end because a draw would have been a good result and it should have been achieved.

 

With trialist David Miele at right-back and Thomas Addison back to bolster a defence missing regular centre-back Gerry Evans, Milanda had some organisational problems at the start and found themselves a goal down inside the first 10 minutes.

 

As rain poured down on the astro-turf pitch, however, they came back into it and were rarely threatened again before the break.

 

Milanda were not making much in the way of chances but neither were Renfrew. The home team did eventually break through again but their forward shot wide with only Craig Fawns to beat.

 

Martin Coyle eventually arrived after completing work commitments and Milanda pushed three up front to try to salvage something from the game.

 

The breakthrough came after Paul Ross had been pulled down following a superb surge forward from the back. Kevin Grehan took the free-kick from just outside the box and hit an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

 

There was only a minute or so left but Renfrew won a free-kick from the restart and the shot somehow found its way past Fawns and into the net.

 

A sickening end to the match. Renfrew were the better team but should have been punished for not making that superiority count.

 

To put the tin lid on everything, some little kid from Ferguslie Park nicked one of our match balls after befriending assistant manager Scott Grant.

Mugged twice in the one night.

 

MOM: Everyone put in a shift but Kevin Grehan takes the award for his hard work in midfield and a peach of a goal.

 

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Glasgow Green. GDSML

 

AC Milanda 2 (Kelly, Johnstone), Ashfield 4

 

Team: Fawns, Ross, O’Neill, Evans, Difalco (Russell), Gallacher (Miele), Grehan, Johnstone, Coyle (MacDougall), Kelly, Lawlor.

 

MILANDA’S losing streak continued when they were second best to an impressive Ashfield side at Glasgow Green.

 

A poor performance in the first half when possession was surrendered far too easily looked like becoming an ambarrassment when Ashfield took a 4-1 lead early in the second period.

 

However, Milanda pulled a goal back and salvaged some pride with a battling last half-hour.

 

Milanda, who had trialists Gary Difalco and Neil MacDougall in their squad, went ahead against the run of play after 15 minutes when Kevin Grehan played Paul Ross in behind the defence and his cross was knocked in by Colin Kelly.

 

But Ashfield equalised and then went ahead from two corners that were poorly defended.

 

Paul Gallacher was unlucky with a near-post shot following a Kelly corner and Martin Coyle wasted a superb opportunity from a Gerry Evans through ball before Ashfield took a 3-1 lead with a deflected shot after Milanda had given the ball cheaply away yet again.

 

Ashfield made it 4-1 from a rather soft penalty given against Ross and Milanda were really up against it.

 

However, trialist McDougall came on to improve the quality in midfield and Milanda started to cause a few more problems.

 

Martin Johnstone shot just wide after good play on the right by Gallacher and then MacDougall was brought down for a penalty after a good burst into the box.

 

Johnstone’s spot-kick was blocked by the keeper but he followed up to net.

Milanda couldn’t reduce the leeway further and Ashfield failed to take advantage of some slick counter-attacks so it ended 4-2.

 

MOM: Trialists Difalco and MacDougall made impressive contributions but the award goes to Paul Ross for some good work in defence and his assist for the opener.

 

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Huntly Park, Giffnock. Vince McGlinchey Trophy quarter-final.

 

Garnethill Rovers 1 AC Milanda 2 (Kelly, Johnstone).

 

Team: Fawns, Ross, Evans, Colvin, Difolco, McColgan (Miele), Grehan, Russell, Moray (Binnie), Johnston, Kelly.

 

MILANDA stopped the rot with a hard-working performance that took them through to the semi-finals of the Vince McGlinchey Trophy.

 

After gifting Garnethill the opener after less than two minutes, Milanda battled hard to draw level through Colin Kelly just before half-time and net the winner in the second half through strike partner Martin Johnstone.

 

Even though Milanda have never lost to Garnethill, they usually prove difficult opponents. With four regulars posted missing for one reason or another, Milanda did not have their strongest squad avilable and this made the tie appear even trickier.

When a short passback by Lee Colvin gifted the home team the opener in the second minute, it looked as if this might be another day.

 

But to the team’s credit they shook off that disappointment and began to create chances. Kelly, Mark Russell, skipper Kevin Grehan and Johnstone all had shots saved before the equaliser arrived a minute from the break.

 

Grehan, who seemed to be everywhere in midfield, was involved in the build-up but the killer pass came from Russell to Kelly and he cut inside two defenders before blasting a left-foot shot into the net.

 

Garnethill operated a shoot-on-sight policy but fortunately they struggled to hit the target with some powerful efforts.

 

At the other end, Colvin shot wide in the 50th minute after a long throw by the returning Paul Moray had not been properly cleared.

 

Eight minutes later, Milanda scored what proved to be the winner. Russell slipped the ball through the middle of the home defence and Johnstone waited until the keeper had committed himself before calmly knocking the ball into the net.

 

Garnethill threw everything into finding an equaliser but Milanda, with Jim Binnie and David Miele providing fresh legs in midfield, stood firm and might easily have added to their lead.

 

MOM: No failures this week. Lee Colvin recovered from a shaky start to be a strong figure in a resolute defence that had good performances from paul Ross, Gerry “Odd Shoes” Evans and Gary Difolco, The midfielders all put in great shifts – it was particularly pleasing to have Paul Moray back after his horrendous leg wound – and up front Martin Johnstone and Colin Kelly made sure the Garnethill defenders could never relax. But the strikers need a good supply of the ball if they are to deliver goals and Mark Russell was the main man in that department, so he picks up the award.

 

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GDSML. - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 1 (Kelly) Vale Utd 5

 

TEAM: Fawns, Ross, Colvin (O’Neill), Evans, Difolco, McColgan (Lawlor), Grehan, Russell, Moray, Johnstone, Kelly

 

A disastrous first-half performance saw another three points get away from Milanda at muddy Stepford.

 

Vale are a good enough team without giving them a helping hand but that’s exactly what Milanda did with some woeful defending.

 

The score at half-time was 5-0 and the game was effectively over. Milanda did regain some pride by “winning” the second half but that is a meaningless consolation prize.

 

In reality, Vale took their foot off the gas and even then it still took some good saves by Craig Fawns to deny them further goals.

 

Milanda certainly played better football in this period and scored a nice goal shortly after the restart. Kevin Grehan slipped a perfect ball through the defence and Colin Kelly thumped it past the keeper.

 

Kelly, Paul Moray and Martin Johnstone came close with other efforts and the referee chalked off a Milanda goal for offside but there was never any hope of a turnaround.

 

There will have to be a dramatic improvement in performance over the coming weeks if enough points are to be collected to stay in the division.

 

MOM: Craig Fawns stopped the scoreline going from bad to worse with some excellent saves.

 

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Huntly Park, Giffnock. GDSML.

 

Garnethill Rovers 4, AC Milanda 4 (Kelly 3, Stapleton)

 

Team: Fawns, Ross, O’Neill, Evans, Difolco, Stapleton, Moray, Grehan, Kelly, Lawlor, Johnstone. Sub not used: Malone.

 

A frustrating morning for AC Milanda who could have taken three points but were relieved at least to go home with one.

 

A topsy-turvy game saw Garnethill 1-0 and 4-3 ahead, while Milanda had the lead at 3-2.

 

Considering Milanda did not have their strongest team out due to late call-offs, a draw might be regarded as acceptable but once again the goals lost were poor and might have been avoided with better team work.

 

Having said that, Garnethill will probably be thinking the same about some of those they conceded.

 

With only 10 fully-fit signed players available, Milanda fielded Irish youngster Luke Stapleton as a trialist wide on the right, while Paul Malone, who hasn’t played for months due to injury, was a one-man subs’ bench.

 

Milanda started well and Dave O’Neill and Gerry Evans didn’t make the most of excellent deliveries into the box before Garnethill scored a simple opener in the fifth minute.

 

As the game progressed, Milanda looked more threatening and Colin Kelly blasted in the equaliser after 23 minutes following good build-up play by Russell Lawlor and Martin Johnstone.

 

Paul Moray wasted a superb opening from a Johnstone cutback and then Kelly hit the bar with a header from Kevin Grehan’s pinpoint cross.

 

But against the run of play Garnethill made it 2-1 with a near-post header from a corner.

 

Back came Milanda again and Stapleton equalised from close range after Grehan had been up highest to get his head to a Moray corner.

 

Lawlor hit the side netting with a shot and then blasted in an even more powerful effort that deflected off Kelly and flew past the keeper to give Milanda an interval lead.

 

Early in the second half, the keeper made a good save to deny Kelly his hat-trick.

But two quick goals by Garnethill turned the game on its head once again and Milanda had to dig deep to get themselves out of a jam.

 

Eventually they made it 4-4 when Kelly poked home from close range for his teble after Stapleton and Johnstone had done the hard work.

 

There were half-chances at both ends before James Carberry blew the final whistle, with Moray coming closest to a goal when he thumped the bar with a left-foot shot.

Both teams left the field less than satisfied but the draw was probably a fair result.

 

MOM: Martin Johnstone put in a tremendous effort up front, making sure the Garnethill defenders could never, relax and behind him midfielders Kevin Grehan and Luke Stapleton matched his work rate. However, for his three goals – even though he didn’t know much about one of them – man of the match goes to the ever dangerous Colin Kelly.

 

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GDSML - Nethercraigs

 

Invac 4 AC Milanda 2 (Kelly, Lawlor)

 

Team: Fawns, Ross, O’Neill (Miele), Evans, Binnie (Difolco), Lawlor, MacDougall (Malone), Moray, Kelly, Johnstone, Coyle.

 

Another poor performance from Milanda as the worrying slump continues.

 

Once again goals were conceded far too easily and Invac didn’t have to work too hard to take the points.

 

The home side were two goals ahead after not much more than 10 minutes and it looked as if a real hammering might be on the cards.

 

Martin Johnstone missed a superb chance to reduce the deficit after being put through by Martin Coyle.

 

However, Russell Lawlor, playing on the right of midfield rather than up front, set up a goal for Milanda when the Invac keeper couldn’t hold his shot and Colin Kelly pounced to hit home the loose ball.

 

Kelly might have scored again from a Johnstone cross but failed to hit the target and Milanda reached the break one behind.

 

Although Invac had missed some other good opportunities, it was felt at half-time that Milanda were still well in the game and could take something from it.

 

Dave O’Neill headed wide from a Paul Moray throw but when the next goal came in the 65th minute it was at the other end. Craig Fawns should have dealt with Invac’s free-kick but seemed to think it was going wide and didn’t attempt a save.

 

Milanda came close again in a goalmouth scramble but the ball just wouldn’t go in and they lost a fourth goal in the 75th minute.

 

A minute after that Lawlor strode forward and blasted in a shot that left the keeper helpless to make it 4-2.

 

Milanda used all three subs to try to salvage a point and the fresh legs of Gary Difolco, David Miele and Paul Malone ensured a fighting finish but there was no change to the scoreline.

 

MOM: Neil MacDougall did really well in midfield after a spell on the sidelines due to illness but the award this time goes to Russell Lawlor. He floated in and out of the game and sometimes dropped a little too deep but it was his shooting power that brought the two goals.

 

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Vince McGlinchey Trophy semi-final. Clydebank High School

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KILPATRICK TH 3 AC MILANDA 3 (Coyle, Lawlor, Johnstone). Milanda win 4-3 on penalties.

 

Team: Fawns, Difolco, Ross, Colvin, Moray, Lawlor, MacDougall (O’Neill), Grehan, Kelly, Coyle (Miele), Johnstone. Sub not used: Malone.

 

MILANDA made it through to the final of the Vince McGlinchey Trophy by winning a dramatic penalty shootout.

 

It was the perfect ending to a tremendous semi-final that saw them 1-0 and 2-1 ahead before being 3-2 behind in the dying minutes.

 

The players showed superb spirit to come back and level the tie against a young and talented Kilpatrick team and they carried that on into a shootout that could have gone either way.

 

It was a shame there had to be a loser and Kilpatrick will feel hard done by but football can be a cruel game. Milanda lost a shootout earlier in the season that they should have won and a valuable lesson had been learned from that – don’t let Kevin Grehan anywhere near penalties.

 

Sadly, it had been forgotten that keeper Craig Fawns had also failed from the spot that day and he was allowed to volunteer to take Saturday’s first kick – straight at the keeper.

 

A bad start but he made up for it by saving Kilpatrick’s first kick and their sixth, with their fourth taker putting his effort wide. That allowed Milanda to go through thanks to the marksmanship of Lee Colvin, Colin Kelly, Paul Moray and Dave O’Neill, with Russell Lawlor the only other Milanda player to have his spot-kick saved.

 

It was the perfect ending to a day that had got off to a a great start with a Milanda goal after 10 minutes. A Paul Moray free-kick was punched by the keeper but the ball fell to Martin Coyle inside the box and he made space for himself before slamming it into the net.

 

It could have been 2-0 shortly after that. A fierce drive by Lawlor was turned round the post by the keeper and from the corner a Colvin header was cleared off the line.

 

Milanda were working hard to contain lively opponents on the big astroturf pitch but one careless piece of play gifted possession to Kilpatrick who fashioned a well-worked move to create the equaliser.

 

But 60 seconds later Milanda struck again to secure an interval lead. Another precise free-kick by Moray found Johnstone and when the keeper could only parry his header, Lawlor pounced to hammer the ball home from close range.

Milanda could feel pleased with their efforts but the half-time talk was all about keeping things tight in the first five or 10 minutes so as not to give Kilpatrick any encouragement.

 

What happened? Two poorly-defended corners, two goals to put Kilpatrick 3-2 in front inside the first 10 minutes.

 

For much of the rest of the half, Milanda looked a beaten team. Kilpatrick missed a couple of decent chances but for the most part they seemed content with their lead.

 

Milanda suddenly came to life again in the final 15 minutes and Colin Kelly had a powerful shot beaten out by the keeper.

 

With substitutes David Miele and Dave O’Neill on to provide fresh impetus, Milanda kept probing and with six minutes left a good move down the left produced the equaliser. Lawlor set up Grehan for a shot that he mishit but the ball reached Johnstone who knocked it into the net from a couple of yards out.

Kilpatrick tried hard to regain the lead but Milanda held firm and kept their nerve to win the shootout too.

 

MOM: Special mention should go to Paul Ross, who had been suffering from a virus through the week, and Lee Colvin who was making his comeback after injury because they made a solid central defence. Dave O’Neill also because although he wasn’t on the field for long, he made a crucial clearing header at the back post near the end and also scored in the shootout when we went beyond the top five kickers. But this wasn’t a day to call one person Man of the Match because it was a team effort and every single player did a great job. A few more similar performances in the league would help us in our efforts to avoid relegation.

 

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GDSML - Lochend

 

BAILLIESTON TH 4 AC MILANDA 2 (Lawlor 2)

 

Team: Fawns, Difolco, Ross, Colvin, Moray, Lawlor, O’Neill, McColgan, Kelly, Coyle (Evans), Johnstone.

 

MILANDA gave the reigning champions a tough game but left Easterhouse empty handed.

 

Two well-worked goals, both scored by Russell Lawlor, provided hope that something could be taken from the game.

 

The first had Milanda 1-0 up at the interval and the second brought the score back to 2-2 but a couple of mistakes late in the game were punished by Baillieston as they continued their 100 per cent league record against us.

 

Overall it was a good performance by Milanda who had four players missing from the previous week’s squad due to injuries and holidays.

 

Keeper Craig Fawns kept us in the game at times with some excellent saves but the opposition keeper also did well on a couple of occasions in an entertaining match,

Baillieston started better and were denied twice by Fawns before Milanda first threatened. Martin Johnstone fashioned the opening for himself in the box with a neat turn and powerful shot that the keeper touched round the post.

 

The opening goal came in the 25th minute. Paul Moray sent Colin Kelly down the left and he did well to make the byeline before cutting back the perfect ball for Lawlor to shoot home off a post.

 

Baillieston hit back and Brian Wilson, the player who has a habit of scoring against Milanda, broke clear but Fawns produced an excellent save to beat away his shot.

 

Half-time arrived with no damage done but Milanda’s bad habit of conceding early in the second half of games was evident again as the home team equalised from a long throw.

 

A few minutes later they did pretty much the same thing, although this time the finish was a good header from Colin Wilson.

 

But Milanda were still well in it and the keeper had a good save from Kelly, with Dave O’Neill firing the loose ball wide.

 

Milanda equalised in the 64th minute. Kelly was again involved with good play on the left before transferring the ball to Johnston who set up Lawlor for a shot that the keeper touched but couldn’t keep out.

 

Two minutes later, Fawns came to the rescue again, diving to his left to keep out a Brian Wilson free-kick.

 

It was anyone’s game with 15 minutes to go but individual errors were punished by Baillieston as they hit two quick goals to take the points.

 

MOM: Mistakes aside, one of Milanda’s better league performances against Baillieston with everyone putting in a good shift. Lee Colvin and Gary Difolco were the pick of the defenders, Dave O’Neill and Marc McColgan worked tremendously hard in the centre of midfield, Colin Kelly’s pace gave Baillieston a lot of problems and Russell Lawlor provided another two good goals. But this week’s award goes to Craig Fawns for his outstanding saves.

 

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GDSML. - Mountblow

 

Kiklpatrick Th 3, AC Milanda 3 (Johnstone, Kelly, McColgan)

 

Team: Fawns, Difolco, Colvin (Ross), Evans, Moray, Lawlor (Grehan), O’Neill, McColgan, Kelly, Coyle (Malone|) Johnstone. Sub not used: Scott.

 

MILANDA picked up a valuable point at a tough away venue thanks to a battling performance.

 

Some observers might suggest it was two points dropped considering Kilpatrick played a good chunk of the second half with 10 men following the ordering-off of their keeper for a hand-ball offence but a young team with their energy levels can still cause problems in this situation.

 

Yes, Milanda had chances to win the game but Kilpatrick didn’t retreat into their shell because of the red card and they too could have taken full points, so a draw was fair in the end.

 

The home team certainly made the better start and it looked as if Milanda were in for a hammering when they found themselves 2-0 down after 20 minutes.

 

However, they recovered and reduced the deficit in the 25th minute when Martin Johnstone thumped the ball into the corner of the net following excellent build-up play by Colin Kelly.

 

Five minutes later it was 2-2. Russell Lawlor put Kelly through with a superb diagonal pass. The Kilpatrick keeper came out of his box in an attempt to clear, failed to do so and Kelly ran on to knock the ball into the empty net.

 

Coyle was unlucky with an attempt to lob the keeper and Lawlor had a powerful free-kick blocked before Milanda found themselves ahead for the first time.

A throw by Paul Moray was picked up by Johnstone on the left and he played in Lawlor whose sliced shot fell nicely for midfielder Marc McColgan to force the ball home at the back post.

 

However, Kilpatrick responded and equalised just before the break. The defence failed to clear a corner, although Gerry Evans almost managed to blooter team-mate Moray out of the danger area, and when the ball was crossed back in again a header was somehow allowed to sneak into the net.

 

After a six-goal first half, the second period was rather tame.

The Kilpatrick keeper was dismissed when he handled outside his box to stop Kelly going on to score from a McColgan pass. The home team had another No.1 on their bench so whipped off an outfield player to give themselves a bit of security at the back.

 

There were chances at both ends after that, Kelly missing a couple of good opportunities for Milanda and Kilpatrick wasting a couple of decent openings of their own.

 

To sum up, it could have been a win but considering Milanda had not previously taken anything in an away league game with Kilpatrick, a point was not to be sniffed at.

 

MOM: A solid team performance after a shaky start, with Martin Johnstone, Colin Kelly and Martin Coyle working particularly hard to be creative against tough opponents. Kilpatrick’s style of flooding the midfield by pushing up from the back also meant the men in the engine room had a hard time but they responded well and Marc McColgan was the pick of the performers in there. For that and his goal he picks up this week’s Man of the Match award.

 

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GDSML. Huntly Park, Giffnock.

 

Garnethill Rovers 3 AC Milanda 2 ( Grehan, Ross)

 

Team: Fawns, Glen, Colvin, Evans, Difolco, Ross, Moray, Grehan, Kelly, Coyle (O’Neill), Johnstone. Subs not used: Malone, Scott.

 

MILANDA threw away a 2-0 lead and allowed one of their relegation rivals to walk away with three crucial points thanks to a last-minute goal.

 

This was Garnethill’s first ever win against Milanda and from their point of view it could not have come at a better time.

 

With four teams being relegated this season due to league reconstruction, it is very tight in the bottom half of the table and this fixture was certainly in the winnable category.

 

Even more so after going into a 2-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes. Kevin Grehan scored the first with a rare header from Lee Colvin’s free-kick and Paul Ross shot No.2 after being put beyond the Garnethill defence by Paul Moray’s long ball.

 

The gamble of switching what was technically Milanda’s home game to the better surface at Huntly Park looked to have paid off at that point.

 

Martin Johnstone had a perfectly good goal chalked off for offside by a referee who was well behind play and that error proved a turning point.

 

Garnethill bounced back with goals from a shot and a free-kick that was poorly defended to make the half-time score 2-2.

 

Milanda, with young trialist Fraser Glen at right-back, had their fair share of chances in the second period but failed to take them. Colvin, Moray, Ross, Colin Kelly and Gerry Evans all could have put Garnethill under pressure but only Moray’s effort was on target and that one didn’t trouble the keeper.

 

Garnethill piled on the pressure in the final 10 minutes and hit the bar before finally forcing one of their chances home in the dying seconds.

 

It was a real sickener for Milanda, who probably deserved a point, but full credit to Garnethill who have often walked off the park with nothing to show for their efforts in these fixtures when a draw would have been merited.

 

MOM: Trialist Glen could be pleased with his debut on a day when most of the players in Milanda colours did not play to their potential. Kevin Grehan was the pick of the bunch with a hard-working performance and a good goal.

 

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GDSML - Greenfield

 

AC Milanda 3 (Johnstone 2, Kelly), Glasgow Islay 2.

 

Team: Fawns, O'Neill, Evans, Ross, Difolco, Malone, Grehan, Kelly, Moray, Johnstone, Conn (Binnie). Sub not used: Scott.

 

MILANDA made it a league double against Glasgow Islay by picking up three vital points in a hard-fought encounter at Greenfield.

 

After the frustration of losing a last-minute winner to Garnethill Rovers four days previously, Milanda bounced back with a performance of grit and determination and no little skill.

 

The tall and powerful Islay are always difficult opponents but Milanda matched them and the fact that both the away team's goals came from penalties indicates the defence was a lot tighter than it has been of late.

 

Milanda changed the system to one they haven't used for a while but everyone responded well with the exception of Paul Moray who seemed to think left wing-back meant outside-left with no defensive duties to perform.

 

Paul Malone, who hasn't seen much action this season, quickly got into the thick of it alongside Kevin Grehan in central midfield and won a lot of good possession.

 

Clear-cut chances were rare until Milanda opened the scoring on the half-hour. Grehan sent Colin Kelly down the left and he scampered to the byeline before cutting back a ball that eluded trialist striker Mark Conn but found Martin Johnstone who fired in a shot that the keeper touched but couldn't keep out.

 

With Paul Ross, Gerry Evans and Dave O'Neill playing solidly at the back it looked as if Milanda would turn around holding the advantage but a good run by one of the Islay players went unnoticed and Kelly, tracking back, was forced to bring him down for a penalty that was converted.

 

Ten minutes into the second half, O'Neill conceded a debatable penalty and Islay went 2-1 ahead.

 

However, Milanda responded quickly and Kelly scored from inside the box after good play by Malone, O'Neill and Johnstone.

 

It was anyone's game at this stage but Milanda struck the killer blow with six minutes left when Moray sent a free-kick into the box and Johnstone, with his back to goal, somehow twisted to send a head-flick past the Islay keeper.

 

There were one or two scary moments before the end but Milanda held on for an excellent victory.

 

MOM: No failures on the night so there were a number of candidates for the award, including Gary Difolco at right wing-back, Gerry Evans, Paul Ross, Kevin Grehan, Paul Malone and Colin Kelly, but for two super goals and an assist the accolade goes to Martin Johnstone.

 

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GDSML - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 7 ( Kelly 3, Ross, Johnstone 2, own goal), Pursuers 4

 

Team: Fawns, Ross, Colvin (Scott), Evans, Difolco (Russell), Grehan, Kelly, O’Neill, Moray, Johnstone (Coyle), Lawlor. Sub not used: Miele.

 

MILANDA staged one of their finest ever comebacks to take another three points from a rollercoaster of a relegation battle.

 

After a good midweek win over Glasgow Islay, the players should have gone into this one with confidence but for some reason they simply didn’t turn up in a first half dominated by Pursuers.

 

The visitors were 3-1 up at half-time and could have been even further ahead, the woodwork having saved Milanda on two occasions.

 

However, a change of system and attitude brought an incredible turnaround after the break and Milanda ran out worthy winners.

 

Pursuers went a goal up after 10 minutes with a curling shot from outside the box and followed that up quickly with an effort that hit Craig Fawns’ left-hand post with the keeper beaten.

 

But in the 15th minute Milanda pulled level when Russell Lawlor fed Colin Kelly who scored with a powerful shot.

 

But Pursuers were much more energetic at this stage and hit the frame of the goal again before going 2-1 up with a header in the 28th minute.

Kevin Grehan came close with a header and Lawlor with a volley before Pursuers scored again.

 

Milanda took off Gary Difolco just before the break, sent on Mark Russell and switched from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 in an effort to change the pattern.

 

The players responded positively and the Pursuers keeper had a good save from Kelly at the start of the second half.

 

Milanda looked much brighter now and they cut the deficit with as good a goal as they have scored all season. Lawlor was the provider with a cross from the left and Paul Ross hit a screamer of a right-foot volley into the top of the net.

 

That one came in the 50th minute and two minutes later it was 3-3, Martin Johnstone turning to smash the ball past the keeper from inside the box after a superb run by Kelly.

 

Lawlor was the provider for No.4 on the hour mark, his cross from the right being knocked into his own net by a Pursuers defender.

 

Milanda were well in control now and when Grehan picked out Kelly with an accurate cross, Milanda’s top scorer fired the ball into the corner of the net.

 

No.6 was a tap-in for Johnstone after a good break and cross from the left by Paul Moray.

 

Kelly made it 7-3 after more good work by Lawlor before Pursuers grabbed a late fourth.

 

MOM: If ever there was the proverbial game of two halves, this was it. Few players in Milanda colours would have been given pass marks for their efforts in the first 45 minutes but the second period produced several heroes. Russell Lawlor didn’t get his name on the scoresheet but was a constant thorn in Pursuers’ side, Martin Johnstone led the front line brilliantly despite being less than 100 per cent fit and Kevin Grehan, Dave O’Neill and Mark Russell took control of midfield. Paul Ross also came on to a good came and scored a stunning goal, while keeper Craig Fawns had no chance with the goals and made a couple of important saves. However, hat-trick man Colin Kelly was the player Pursuers simply couldn’t contain and so he wins man of the match.

 

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GDSML. Stepford.

 

AC Milanda 5 (Own goal, Grehan, Coyle 2, 1 pen, Lawlor). Red Star Ballieston 0

 

TEAM: Fawns, Ross, Evans, Colvin (Miele), Moray, Lawlor, Grehan, Russell (MacDougall), Kelly (Malone), Coyle, Johnstone. Subs not used: O’Neill, Scott.

 

MILANDA won another relegation battle more easily than expected.

Red Star, like Milanda, went into the match on the back of a couple of good results and so a tight affair was expected.

 

However, Milanda dominated almost from the word go and always looked like completing a league double over their opponents.

 

Even more surprising than the final result was the fact that top marksmen Colin Kelly and Martin Johnstone didn’t get their names on the scoresheet but both made a good contribution to an excellent overall team performance.

 

The wind and the long grass were not conducive to good football but Milanda played some nice stuff and Martin Coyle and Kelly came close with shots before the opener after 12 minutes.

 

Keeper Craig Fawns started the decisive move and Paul Moray continued it by sending Johnstone down the left. He headed for the byeline and then fired a ball across goal that was knocked past the keeper by one of the Red Star defenders.

 

A slightly fortunate start but there was nothing lucky about the second goal that followed shortly afterwards. Russell Lawlor did well to break down the right and fire in a shot that thudded off the keeper’s right-hand post but Milanda kept up the pressure and when the ball finally fell to Kevin Grehan 25 yards out he fired a screamer into the roof of the net.

 

Milanda kept their grip on the game at the start of the second period and Lee Colvin missed a chance from a Moray corner before the third goal arrived on the hour mark from Coyle after good work by Grehan.

 

Milanda’s defence seemed well in control but a rare Red Star attack saw Paul Ross make an important goal-line clearance.

 

Lawlor made it 4-0 in the 70th minute from a Johnstone pass and Coyle scored the fifth from the penalty spot following a foul on Grehan.

 

All in all, a comprehensive win for Milanda who showed more hunger than their opponents for the battle and that provides hope for the crucial games remaining.

 

MOM: Absolutely no failures on the day and the bonus was getting Neil MacDougall back on the field after injury and illness problems. Mark Russell, who made way for him, had an excellent match as did Paul Moray and Martin Johnstone, who linked well on the left. Martin Coyle worked hard and took his two goals well and Russell Lawlor made a superb contribution with his range of passing and goal. However, the award this week goes to Kevin Grehan who controlled the midfield and scored a candidate for goal of the season. Just goes to show what you can do when you stay out of the pub.

 

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GDSML - Stepps

 

Strathclyde Uni 4, AC Milanda 4 (Kelly, Johnstone, Russell, Coyle pen).

 

TEAM: Carberry, Ross, O’Neill, Evans, Moray (Coyle), Lawlor (Smiley), Kelly, Grehan (MacDougall), McColgan, Russell, Johnstone. Subs not used: Binnie, Malone.

 

A last-gasp penalty by Martin Coyle earned Milanda a precious point in an entertaining game at Stepps.

 

Milanda were twice ahead and twice behind against a slick University side and were well worth their draw.

 

In fact, Milanda had more clear-cut chances over the 90 minutes and would have had all three points with more composed finishing.

 

However, the fact that they were 4-3 behind with just seven minutes left made the draw very welcome.

 

With trialist Thomas Carberry in goal for the second time this season, Milanda made an excellent start and looked the better team for the first 15 minutes.

 

Russell Lawlor struck a post from a Martin Johnstone cross before Milanda went ahead in the 10th minute. These two worked a nice 1-2 on the right and Lawlor’s cross was forced over the line at the back post by Colin Kelly.

 

Strathclyde were playing some neat passing moves without doing much damage while Milanda continued to be more creative, Gerry Evans headed a Paul Moray corner wide and then in the 22nd minute Kelly shot wide when put clear by Johnstone’s clever pass.

 

The Uni boys started to come more into the game and Carberry pulled off an excellent save before they equalised in the 36th minute by carving open the Milanda defence.

 

Milanda found themselves 2-1 down in 40 minutes after a cross from the right had been poorly defended but they hit back quickly with Johnstone doing brilliantly to rise at the front post and head-flick a Moray corner into the net.

 

Strathclyde hit the woodwork before the teams reached the break all square.

 

The second half was only three minutes old when Milanda regained the lead. Lawlor provided the cross from the right and although Marc McColgan failed in his effort to convert, Mark Russell was on hand at the back post to fire the ball into the roof of the net.

 

Kelly forced another save from the Uni keeper after being put through by a long pass from Lawlor and then Russell shot over from a corner.

 

But the Uni got back on level terms in the 68th minute from the penalty spot after Gerry Evans had clumsily tackled one of their forwards.

 

Trialist Alex Smiley, who had replaced the exhausted Lawlor, put Kelly through again with a first-time pass but again the wee fat Uni keeper managed to block.

 

Then disaster stuck when the Milanda defence was posted missing as one of the Uni strikers fired the ball into the corner of the net.

 

With Neil MacDougall and Coyle on to provide fresh legs, Milanda tried hard to hit back again but it looked as if they would come up short when, with just two minutes left, referee Danny Boyle saw a push on Kelly in the box.

 

Strathclyde claimed the offence had taken place outside the box but the match official checked that it had begun inside the danger area and was quite clear in his mind when he pointed to the spot.

 

Coyle, who is well used to taking pressure penalties in Milanda crunch games, stepped up to the mark again and fired the ball low into the corner.

 

MOM: Some very good performances from Milanda in a tricky match. Dave O’Neill was the pick of the defenders while every one of the midfielders put in a great shift. Russell Lawlor did some brilliant work on the right until he ran out of steam and Colin Kelly was a real handful for the Uni defence and should have had more than one goal to show for his night’s work. The two trialists also made a good contribution but not for the first time the star of the show was Martin Johnstone. He often had to fly solo up front but kept the whole Uni back line on their toes with his appetite for hard work.

 

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GDSML - Lochend

 

Andrew Watt 2, AC Milanda 3 (Smiley 2, Kelly)

 

Team: Fawns, Ross, O’Neill, Evans (Colvin), Moray, Lawlor (Coyle), Grehan, MacDougall (Malone), Kelly, Johnstone, Smiley. Subs not used: Binnie, Difolco.

 

MILANDA grabbed another three survival points from a hard-fought match that was influenced greatly by the strong wind.

 

It was behind Milanda in the first half, helping them dominate and turn around two goals ahead thanks to a well-taken double by trialist Alex Smiley.

 

With the wind at their backs in the second period, Andrew Watt took a matter of minutes to get on level terms but Milanda showed fantastic character and determination to bounce back from that and win the match with a goal by top scorer Colin Kelly.

 

Despite losing midfielder Neil MacDougall early in the match with an eye cut that required six stitches, Milanda spent most of the first half camped in their opponents’ half.

 

With substitute Paul Malone slotting nicely into central midfield beside Kevin Grehan, Milanda pressed Andrew Watt back towards their own goal and scored after just seven minutes.

 

A Russell Lawlor corner wasn’t properly cleared and Smiley pounced to slam the ball into the net from close range.

 

Martin Johnstone came close with a lob over the keeper, Malone put a shot wide at the back post from a Paul Moray cross and Smiley wasn’t far away with a scissors kick effort from a Lawlor cross.

 

It was a case of close but no cigar until the 35th minute when Johnstone slipped a nice ball through to Smiley and he buried his shot into the corner of the net.

 

Two goals was not the cushion Milanda deserved but it was just a case of keeping things tight in the second half and making sure Andrew Watt did not get back into the game.

 

That was the plan but two superb goals squared the match inside the first four minutes, the first a bullet header from a free-kick and the second a header from a keeper’s clearance that could have gone anywhere but ended up in the net.

 

To their credit, Milanda’s players didn’t feel sorry for themselves. They continued to play good football and were soon making chances again.

 

Grehan shot too high after the keeper had parried an effort from Smiley and then the Andrew Watt No.1 tipped a Johnstone shot over the bar.

 

An indirect free-kick inside the box for dangerous play provided another opportunity but the massed ranks of Andrew Watt players kept the ball out.

 

However, in the 73rd minute Milanda scored what was to prove the winner. Grehan picked out Kelly with a lovely chipped pass and he ran on to blast the ball into the net.

Andrew Watt tried to come back but Milanda held firm for a deserved victory.

 

MOM: A good all-round performance. Keeper Craig Fawns had no chance with the goals and the defence restricted Andrew Watt to few chances from open play. Martin Johnstone and Alex Smiley proved a good partnership up front, with the trialist taking his two goals well. All of the midfielders made a good contribution but Kevin Grehan produced that little bit of extra quality to set up the crucial third goal and so he takes the man of the match award.

 

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GDSML. Stepford.

 

AC Milanda 1 (Lawlor), Baillieston Thistle 1.

 

Team: Fawns, Miele, Ross, Colvin, Difolco, Lawlor (Johnstone), Malone, Moray, Binnie (Scott), Coyle (McColgan), Smiley. Sub not used: Evans.

 

MILANDA ended their league season on a high with a battling draw against the title winners.

 

With the threat of relegation pretty much gone and a number of regulars unavailable for one reason or another, the Milanda line-up had a different look about it.

 

But the team played really well and continued the unbeaten run into a sixth game.

 

Baillieston, who have faced a gruelling schedule of games to get over the finishing line as champions, also fielded a much-changed line-up.

 

Aside from the goals, both teams probably made a similar amount of chances but while Milanda tended to miss the target with theirs, Baillieston made Craig Fawns work on a number of occasions and he had to be at his best to keep them out.

 

Milanda went ahead in the 38th minute following a throw-in on the right taken by Miele. Baillieston should have cleared their lines but Russell Lawlor showed great determination to win the ball from one of their defenders before taking the ball forward and finishing with a good low strike past the keeper.

 

Baillieston were stung into action by that and Fawns pushed away a strong shot that was heading for the the corner of the net.

 

However, they equalised before the break when Milanda failed to close down their striker at the edge of the box and his shot found its way past Fawns.

 

The second half never reached any great heights on a difficult pitch. Milanda had their chances, the best of them failing to Alex Smiley and substitute Marc McColgan, but both players shot wide.

 

At the other end, Baillieston looked set to score on at least two occasions but Fawns denied them.

 

Lawlor was unable to finish the game after a crunching tackle but will be hoping to be fit for the cup final against Vale United this Saturday.

 

MOM: This was a good, solid team performance but a few players caught the eye more than others. David Miele made a rare start but played superbly at right-back, while defensive colleagues Paul Ross, Lee Colvin and Gary Difolco also played their parts in keeping Baillieston at bay. Jim Binnie put in a great shift on the left of midfield, as did Martin Coyle up front before he went off to keep himself fresh for a half-marathon the following day. But just as goals win games, saves avoid defeats and for that reason the man of the match award goes to keeper Craig Fawns.

 

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Cup Final - Saturday 28th May

 

Vince McGlinchey Trophy Final. Colville Park, Motherwell

 

Vale Utd 2, AC Milanda 5 (Lawlor, Kelly 3, Grehan)

 

Team and star ratings: Fawns 9, Ross 9, Evans 9 (O’Neill 9), Colvin 9, Difolco 9, Lawlor 9, Grehan 9 (Malone 9), MacDougall 9, Moray 9, Kelly 10 (Coyle 9), Johnstone 9. Subs not used: Binnie Miele.

 

MILANDA produced arguably the best result in their 44-year history to beat GDSML high flyers Vale United and lift the Vince McGlinchey Trophy.

 

The boys came up with a sensational performance in recording a scoreline that no one could have predicted.

 

Never having come close to beating Vale in the past, Milanda were not fancied to topple the team that a few weeks earlier had beaten champions Baillieston Thistle to lift the league’s main trophy, the GDSML Cup.

 

However, everything just clicked on the day. The perfect pitch clearly suited the Milanda players, none more so than Colin Kelly who ran Vale ragged and scored a magnificent hat-trick.

 

Milanda have been regular giant killers in the past, often to reach finals, but achieving such a result when silverware is at stake was very special.

 

So when captain Martin Coyle lifted the trophy there was a deep sense of pride among all those involved in the club.

 

The day didn’t get off to the best of starts when Marc McColgan was unable to find the venue and had to be left out of the squad.

 

That left Alan McMillan with 17 players for 16 shirts and it was with a heavy heart that the manager told Andy Scott he would be missing out.

 

Milanda started the game with a stiff breeze behind them and it was clear straight away that they were up for it.

 

Vale were on the back foot in the opening minutes but Craig Fawns was the first keeper in action and he produced a good save to push away the striker’s shot.

 

But when the breakthrough came in the 15th minute it was at the other end. Martin Johnstone and Kelly caused the initial threat but the telling cross into the box was provided by Paul Moray and Russell Lawlor took a brilliant touch before thumping a great shot into the corner of the net with the outside of his right boot.

 

Milanda kept pressing and Kelly broke through again on the left to hit a shot that very nearly went through the keeper’s legs and into the net.

 

However, Codger was not to be denied and made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute. A long ball from defence by Lee Colvin was flicked on by Johnstone to Kelly and, with Vale appealing for offside, Milanda’s top scorer ran on to round the keeper and calmly knock the ball home.

 

Johnstone fired a Kelly cutback over the top but that was as close as Milanda came to a third goal before the break.

 

The half-time chat was all about the threat Vale would pose with the wind behind them but Milanda made a good start and Johnstone was unlucky with a shot that just missed the target.

 

Fawns produced another excellent save to keep out a long-range shot in the 54th minute but Vale kept up the pressure and got a lucky break of the ball in the box to reduce the leeway.

 

The ball actually went in when Milanda were temporarily down to 10 men following an injury to Gerry Evans and he eventually had to be replaced by Dave O’Neill.

 

Vale went down to 10 men permanently minutes later when a last-man foul stopped Lawlor getting through on goal again. Referee Alex Bickerstaff, who had an excellent match, flashed the red card and awarded a free-kick that came to nothing.

 

This was a crucial period because 10-man Vale had nothing to lose by piling men forward in the hope of turning things in their favour.

 

However, three Milanda goals in a 10-minute period floored them.

 

On the hour, Moray put Kelly clear with the perfect through ball and once again he finished in style.

 

Five minutes later, Kelly and Johnstone combined to set up Kevin Grehan for a shot from outside the box that fizzed into the net, leaving the Vale keeper rooted to the spot.

 

Then in the 70th minute Grehan set up Kelly to complete his hat-trick and put Milanda into an unassailable lead.

 

Kelly, who had taken some heavy tackles, was replaced by club captain Coyle and a tiring Grehan made way for Paul Malone but Milanda were in control and the game was safe.

 

Vale kept battling away, though, and got a goal back with a deflected free-kick 13 minutes from time.

 

The final whistle was a sweet sound for the Milanda players and the family and friends who had turned out to support them.

 

MOM: Colin Kelly was outstanding and has to receive 10 out of 10 for a scintillating display of attacking power and finishing. But to achieve a shock result of this magnitude you have to have every player at the top of his game and that was absolutely the case. Milanda’s defence was solid as a rock throughout and Dave O’Neill kept up the high standard when he replaced Gerry Evans. The midfield worked their socks off and produced passing of the highest order, while ahead of them Martin Johnstone led the line brilliantly. All in all, a terrific day’s work by everyone and a special word for Vale players and management who must have been hurting but were very gracious in defeat.