Season 12/13

 

Season 2012-13

Roddy MacDonald does the double of Top goalscorer and Player of the Year

Milanda go on a 7 match unbeaten run.

6th place finish

 

 

Milanda's score always comes first

Date

Opponent

Comp

Home\Away

Score

Scorers

Aug 18th

Caledonian Uni

William Drummond

A

2 - 5

O’Neill, Johnstone

Aug

Blantyre

William Drummond

A

0 - 6

-

Sept 8th

Invac

League

H

3 - 0

MacDonald, Lawson, R. Addison

Sept 15th

AFC Columba

League

A

3 - 0

Grehan, MacDonald, Lawson

Sept 22nd

Glasgow Islay

League

H

1 - 2

Lawson

Oct 6th

Red Star Baillieston

League

A

2 - 4

Lawson, Grehan

Nov 3rd

Renfrew Town

League

H

4 - 2

Johnstone, O’Neill, Macdonald (2)

Nov 10th

Kilpatrick Thistle

GDSML Cup

H

1 - 2

Johnstone

Nov 17th

Strathclyde Uni

League

H

3 - 5

Murray (3)

Jan 12th

Milngavie BC

John Rae

A

2 - 5

Johnstone, Lawson

Feb 9th

FC Andersto

Vince McGlinchey

A

5 - 7

MacDonald (3), O'Neill, Murray

Feb 16th

Kilpatrick Thistle

League

A

2 - 2

Macdonald, Lawson

Feb 23rd

Glasgow Islay

League

A

2 - 3

Murray, MacDougall

Mar 2nd

Invac

League

A

0 - 2

-

Mar 9th

Kilpatrick Thistle

League

H

3 - 2

Macdonald, Johnstone, Lawson

Mar 16th

Pursuers

League

H

3 - 1

O’Neill, Johnstone, McLaughlin

Apr 6th

Renfrew Town

League

A

3 - 0

Snowdon, O’Neill, Harley

Apr 13th

Red Star Ballieston

League

H

3 - 0

Macdonald (3)

Apr 20th

Strathclyde Uni

League

A

1 - 1

Lawson

Apr 27th

Ashfield

League

A

2 - 2

Lawson, Harley.

May 4th

AFC Columba

League

H

3 - 3

Johnstone, Grehan, MacDougall

May 11th

Ashfield

League

H

1 - 2

MacDougall

May 18th

Pursuers

League

A

3 - 4

Lawson (2), Grehan

Appearances

 

League

William Drummond

GDSML Cup

John Rae

Vince McGlinchey

Total

P. Murray

17

1

1

1

1

21

G. Evans

16 (1)

1

1

1

1

21

D. O'Neill

15 (1)

1

(1)

(1)

1

20

S. Preston

13 (3)

1

1

1

1

20

R. Lawson

15

1

1

1

1

19

R. MacDonald

15

1

-

1

1

18

N. MacDougall

10 (2)

1

(1)

1

1

16

P. Ross

12 (1)

1

1

-

-

15

K. Grehan

11 (1)

(1)

1

-

-

14

C. McLaughlin

12 (2)

-

-

-

-

14

C. Fawns

6 (3)

1

1

1

1

13

M. Johnstone

9

1

1

1

1

13

R. Dunlop

7

1

1

1

1

11

J. Binnie

6 (2)

-

-

1

1

10

G. Harley

8 (1)

-

-

-

-

9

G. Chisholm

5 (2)

-

-

-

-

7

D. Galbraith

4 (2)

-

-

-

-

6

P. Duncan

2 (2)

-

-

-

(1)

5

A. McCrory

2 (1)

-

(1)

-

-

4

S. McAllister

1

-

1

1

-

3

D. McKechnie

1 (2)

-

-

-

-

3

N. Stewart

1

-

1

-

-

2

S. Snowdon

2

-

-

-

-

2

A. McLaughlin

1 (1)

-

-

-

-

2

R. Addison

1

-

-

-

-

1

T. Addison

1

-

-

-

-

1

 

Goals

 

League

William Drummond

GDSML Cup

John Rae

Vince McGlinchey

Total

MacDonald

9

-

-

-

3

12

Lawson

10

-

-

1

-

11

Johnstone

4

1

1

1

-

7

O'Neill

3

1

-

-

1

5

Murray

4

-

-

-

1

5

Grehan

4

-

-

-

-

4

MacDougall

3

-

-

-

-

3

Harley

2

-

-

-

-

2

McLaughlin

1

-

-

 

-

1

Snowdon

1

-

-

-

-

1

R. Addison

1

-

-

-

-

1

Match Reports

 

WM Drummond. Peterson Park.

 

Caledonian University 5, AC Milanda 2 (O’Neill, Johnstone)

 

Team: Dunlop, Ross, Evans, O’Neill, Fawns, Lawson, MacDougall, Preston, Murray (Grehan), Macdonald, Johnstone.

 

RING-RUSTY Milanda were outplayed in their opening League Cup match and only a terrific display by new keeper Robin Dunlop kept the score down.

 

The Uni boys, who play in the division below Milanda were younger, fitter and faster and pretty much dominated proceedings.

 

Milanda opened brightly enough and Martin Johnstone was unlucky not to score after a long throw by Craig Fawns had sent him clear. A large puddle in the Uni box hindered his efforts to get a shot on target after evading the keeper and one or two other Milanda openings also ended up stuck in the mud.

 

Minutes later, Rod Macdonald headed a Russell Lawson corner off target. But Caley weathered that brief early storm and forced two fantastic saves from Dunlop before taking the lead in the 23rd minute following a throw-in on the left.

 

Seven minutes later, poor defending allowed them to double their advantage. Dunlop had another excellent save at the start of the second period but Caley scored again when one of their forwards produced a nice finish after leaping over diving tackles from Dave O’Neill and Gerry Evans.

 

Milanda cut the deficit from a Lawson free-kick, Scott Preston winning the ball in the air and O’Neill providing the finish.

 

Then Johnstone scored Milanda’s second after good play by Paul Ross following a Fawns throw-in.

 

It looked as if a comeback might be on but Milanda conceded a fourth goal almost immediately.

 

Macdonald should have scored for Milanda after going round the home keeper and there were other openings missed by Preston and Neil MacDougall before Caley added a late fifth.

 

A bad day all round but perhaps not unexpected. At least the 12 men on duty had the benefit of a good workout and things will hopefully improve in the weeks ahead.

 

MOM: Half-a-dozen superb saves made Robin Dunlop the star man by a distance.

 

----------

GDSML. Stepford

 

AC Milanda 3, Invac 0 Scorers MacDonald, Lawson, R. Addison

 

Team: Fawns, O’Neill, Ross, Preston, Binnie (Evans), Lawson, Grehan, Macdonald, Murray, Trialist, Johnstone.

 

MILANDA got their league campaign off to a winning start with an excellent all-round display.

After two disappointing League Cup performances, this was more like it and everyone in a red and black shirt can be pleased with how he played.

 

The scoreline is a little harsh on Invac, who were always in the game, but Milanda took their chances and, for the most part, defended solidly.

With trialist Richard Addison up front alongside Martin Johnstone, there was a different look to the home team.

 

A bright start saw them take the game to Invac and the deadlock was broken after 10 minutes. Russell Lawlor whipped in a corner low from the left and Rod Macdonald was first on to it to knock the ball home.

 

The Invac keeper stopped Milanda doubling their lead when he tipped a Dave O’Neill header on to the bar following a long throw by Paul Murray.

But Invac were always a threat and Craig Fawns did well to touch a long-range shot round the post in the lead-up to half-time.

 

The Milanda goal had one or two narrow squeaks in the second half before some breathing space was provided by an immaculate Lawson penalty following a hand-ball offence in the box.

 

That goal came in the 69th minute and three minutes later Milanda scored a third when Johnstone did brilliantly on the byeline to cut the ball back for trialist Addison to score.

 

Invac hit a post and came close on another couple of occasions in the final 20 minutes as Milanda tired but Fawns and his defensive colleagues held on for the clean sheet they deserved.

 

O’Neill and Binnie were impressive in the full-back positions and Scott Preston and Paul Ross bottled up the middle. Gerry Evans, too, performed admirably when he replaced the tiring Binnie.

 

The midfield performed superbly as a unit, with Lawson and Murray creative on the flanks and Kevin Grehan and Macdonald dominating the central positions.

 

Up front, Addison was lively, if a little temperamental, and was a good partner for Johnstone.

 

MOM: Spoilt for choice this week but Rod Macdonald gets the nod for putting in a great shift in the engine room and scoring the crucial opening goal.

 

----------

Coatbridge. GDSML

 

AFC Columba 0, AC Milanda 3. Scorers Grehan, MacDonald, Lawson

 

Team: Dunlop, O'Neill, Preston (McCrory), Ross, Evans (Duncan), MacDougall (McLaughlin), Grehan, Macdonald, Murray, Johnstone, Lawson.

 

MILANDA chalked up their second successive 3-0 win to stay top of the Glasgow and District Saturday Morning League.

 

Coatbridge hasn't always been a happy hunting ground but this was a comfortable victory on the big Morven Street pitch.

 

With Paul Duncan back and trialists Aidan McCrory and Andy McLaughlin along for a look at the set-up, Milanda had 14 players on duty for the first time this season.

 

A young Columba side provided energetic competition throughout but Milanda were stronger in every department.

 

Martin Johnstone had a shot tipped over the bar by the home keeper before Milanda took the lead in the 10th minute. Paul Murray went across the pitch from his role on the left to take a long throw and his delivery was perfect for Kevin Grehan to head home.

 

After 17 minutes, it was 2-0. Gerry Evans fed Johnstone on the left and and his pinpoint cross to the back post was headed back across goal by Grehan for Rod Macdonald to nod into the net from close range.

 

Macdonald had another headed effort from a Johnstone cross pushed over the bar by the keeper as Milanda continued to look the more dangerous side.

Columba gradually came more into the game and it took a good save by Robin Dunlop to keep the lead intact as half-time approached.

 

Milanda lost left-back Evans to a head injury in the second period but Duncan went on to the left-midfield role and Murray moved back to defence without causing any interference to the team's rhythm.

 

In fact, it was substitute Duncan who brought about the third and decisive goal. Johnstone was unlucky with an effort that was cleared by the home defence but as the ball came back into the danger area, Duncan was tripped as he tried to get a shot in and the referee pointed to the spot. Russell Lawson made his usual immaculate job of the penalty and Milanda were home and dry.

 

Trialists McLaughlin and McCrory went on in the last 20 minutes and looked impressive.

 

All in all, another well-rounded performance. Keeper Dunlop made good saves at important times on the few occasions that a solid back four was breached.

 

The midfield worked well as unit, with Grehan and Macdonald particularly busy and always keen to support the impressive Johnstone and Lawson up front with runs into the box

 

MOM: Kevin Grehan just edges it this week. One goal, one assist and 90 minutes of sweat.

 

----------

GDSML

 

AC Milanda 1 (Lawson), Glasgow Islay 2

 

Team: Dunlop, O’Neill, Ross, Preston, Murray, McLaughlin (Duncan), Grehan, Macdonald, MacDougall, McCrory, Lawson. Subs not used: Binnie, Evans.

 

MILANDA players were left scratching their heads in bewilderment after taking nothing from a hard-fought game.

 

The team probably created more chances than they had in the two previous 3-0 wins against Invac and AFC Columba but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping restricted them to a single goal this time.

And against an Islay team that, as always, battled hard right to the last minute, it just wasn’t enough.

 

The visitors scored their winner with virtually the final kick of the game and so took all three points.

 

That was harsh on Milanda but they have only themselves to blame.

Scoring just one goal – albeit a wonder strike from Russell Lawson, the kind he seems to reserve for games against Islay – with the wind behind them in the first half proved costly.

 

Milanda could have scored after just 10 minutes when Aidan McCrory had a clear sight of goal following a long throw by Paul Murray but the new signing fluffed his shot and Rod Macdonald’s effort from the loose ball missed the target.

 

Macdonald put another effort over the bar from close range in the 26th minute following a cross by Scott Preston.

 

But two minutes later it was 1-0. Lawson played a one-two with McCrory out on the left and from 30 yards hit a blistering shot that flew into the top right-hand corner of the Islay goal. You’ll go a long way to see a better strike.

 

But the home side failed to build on their lead and lost a goal five minutes before the break when Islay mounted a counter-attack from a poor Milanda free-kick.

 

Macdonald nearly restored the advantage with a long-range strike that keeper Campbell brilliantly touched over the bar.

 

Milanda had chance after chance in the second half but Campbell twice defied Macdonald. Neil MacDougall had a shot blocked when a goal looked certain and Lawson hit the keeper’s left-hand post with a piledriver after a breakaway down the right.

 

Then referee James Carberry, who had earlier denied Milanda a penalty for a foul on Lawson as he tried to reach a cross, gave Islay one for a foul by Robin Dunlop after the keeper had dropped a cross.

 

It looked a legitimate award from the touchline but the Milanda defenders didn’t think so and felt justice had been done when the Islay player smashed his spot-kick against the bar.

 

However, Islay were pushing hard by this stage and got their reward in the last minute when a corner kick eluded Dunlop and substitute Paul Duncan on the post to end up in the net.

 

MOM: Russell Lawson was back to something like his best form, taking on defenders and causing opposition defenders all sorts of problems. There was also the small matter of that peach of a goal.

 

----------

GDSML. Stepford

 

Red Star Baillieston 4, AC Milanda 2 (Lawson, Grehan)

 

Team: Fawns, Evans, O’Neill, Ross, Murray, Duncan, Grehan, Macdonald, MacDougall, McCrory, Lawson.

 

MILANDA gave up a lead and the three points for the second game in succession.

 

Two goals to the good at the break, they let their standards drop in the second period and allowed their opponents to dominate.

 

While they had been unlucky to lose 2-1 to Glasgow Islay after being one up the previous week, this time they could have no complaints.

 

Late call-offs due to illness and work commitments of other players left Milanda with just 11 men for what is always a tough fixture.

It was a strong line-up, though, and one that performed well in the first period.

 

There was an early chance after the home keeper had dropped a Paul Murray cross but Kevin Grehan slashed the ball off target.

 

But it took only 19 minutes for the first goal to arrive. Paul Duncan fed Russell Lawson on the right and he did well to ride a heavy challenge before storming into the box to fire the ball into the corner of the net.

 

Aiden McCrory shot wide from a Rod Macdonald lay-off before Milanda struck again six minutes from the break. Murray’s free-kick from the left picked out Grehan and he steered the ball away from the Red Star keeper.

 

The players were praised for their efforts at the interval and told to keep doing the same things. But for some reason they seemed to drop deep to protect their lead and allowed Red Star to take control of the game.

 

They pulled one back in the 57th minute when Milanda switched off and allowed one of the Red Star players to get a shot in from the edge of the box. Keeper Craig Fawns got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.

Milanda could have regained their cushion in a superb breakaway down the right. Lawson set up the unmarked Rod Macdonald in the middle but he shot against the keeper.

 

Red Star made Milanda pay for that with a headed equaliser in 67 minutes and three minutes after that they fired in a third after some poor defending. Their fourth was also a close-range header with the defence posted missing.

All in all, a second half to forget.

 

MOM: Russell Lawson looked a threat whenever he got the ball and scored a good goal.

 

----------

GDSML. Greenfield

 

AC Milanda 4 (Johnstone, O’Neill, Macdonald 2), Renfrew Town 2

 

Team: Fawns, O’Neill, Evans, Preston, Binnie, Ross, Grehan, Macdonald, Murray, Lawson, Johnstone.

 

MILANDA handed table-topping Renfrew Town their first league defeat of the season with a superb performance.

 

It wasn’t Milanda’s week for Stepford so the game was played at their old Greenfield stomping ground and it proved lucky - just as it had done last season when Renfrew were turned over.

 

The current champions, who don’t like the lack of width available to them at Greenfield, were definitely second best in the opening 45 minutes and even though they hit back after the break, there was no way a determined Milanda team were going to be beaten.

 

Milanda, with the sun at their backs, pinned Renfrew back from the first kick of the ball and took just 12 minutes to break the deadlock.

 

It was a route one goal, with Craig Fawns launching a free-kick that was missed by the opposition’s central defenders, allowing Martin Johnstone to run on and knock the ball into the corner of the net.

 

Russell Lawson hit the keeper’s right-hand post with a shot from a Johnstone cutback, Rod Macdonald missed with a close-range header when another goal looked certain and Paul Ross came close with a spectacular overhead kick as the one-way traffic continued.

 

Milanda finally doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when Renfrew failed to clear a long throw by Paul Murray and Dave O’Neill fired the loose ball home.

 

Renfrew proved they were a threat on the break with an attack that saw them hit the bar with a well-struck shot.

 

But Milanda struck again six minutes before the break following a good move down the right. Murray had a shot parried by the keeper and Macdonald pounced to slam in the loose ball.

 

A 3-0 interval scoreline would have been excellent but Milanda gave Renfrew hope by gifting them a goal in the 42nd minute. Ross was sloppy in possession and allowed their No.11, Scott McLeish, to fire the ball away from Fawns.

 

Renfrew piled on the pressure after the break but Milanda coped well, with O’Neill, Gerry Evans, Scott Preston and Jim Binnie battling hard to give keeper Fawns security.

 

In fact, Milanda could have increased their lead when Lawson burst through on the right from a Johnstone pass only to fire his shot just wide.

But legs began to tire in the last 15 minutes and, with no substitutes for a variety of reasons, Milanda began to look a little vulnerable.

 

More sloppy played allowed Renfrew No.9 Chris Burke to pull another goal back and set the scene for a difficult finale.

Renfrew hit the bar with another chance minutes later but Milanda gave themselves the cushion they needed with a tremendous fourth goal in the 80th minute.

 

Murray crossed from the left and Ross rose above his marker to nod the ball down perfectly for Macdonald to stab in his second of the day.

Renfrew kept plugging away but there was no chance of them salvaging the game.

 

A terrific day and a terrific team performance from the keeper and the back four through the midfield to the front men.

 

MOM: No failures whatsoever but Rod Macdonald takes the award for a great shift in midfield and two well-taken goals.

 

----------

GDSML Cup first round. Stepford

 

AC Milanda 1 (Johnstone), Kilpatrick Thistle 2

 

Team: Dunlop, McAllister (O’Neill), Evans, Preston, Murray, Fawns, Ross (MacDougall), Grehan (McCrory), Stewart, Lawson, Johnstone.

 

A disastrous day for Milanda as they went out of the GDSML Cup and saw two of their most experienced players taken off injured in the second half.

 

Kevin Grehan suffered an ankle injury and Dave O’Neill had to be taken to hospital with blood pouring from a face wound after a clash of heads.

 

All the subs had been used by the time O’Neill left the scene, so Milanda had to try to alter the fact that they were 2-1 down with 10 men and ultimately it proved mission impossible.

 

After the highs of beating league leaders Renfrew Town, this was a low. The performance wasn’t awful but it could have been a lot better.

 

There was little between the teams over the 90 minutes but Kilpatrick were probably a little hungrier for the win and that was disappointing.

 

Milanda, with new boys Steven McAllister and Neil Stewart at right-back and left midfield respectively, had a lack-lustre start to the game and their

opponents twice struck the frame of the goal before going ahead in the 34th minute. Keeper Robin Dunlop saved the first shot but the loose ball was buried.

 

Martin Johnstone shot over from good position following a long throw by Paul Murray and Milanda’s only other efforts on target in the first period came from Russell Lawson and Grehan. Both hit powerful shots that the Kilpatrick keeper blocked.

 

Johnstone had a header saved early in the second half following a long throw by Craig Fawns and it was this combination that produced the equaliser in the 52nd minute. Again Fawns set up Johnstone with a good throw and the striker’s shot took a deflection on its way into the net from a tight angle.

Lawson was presented with a chance following a short passback but prodded the ball past the keeper and wide of the goal.

 

It looked as if the momentum was turning in Milanda’s favour but a slack pass in midfield set Kilpatrick up for an attack and they scored with a screamer of a long-range shot that soared into the top left-hand corner of Dunlop’s goal.

 

The double injury blow on top of that put Milanda up against it and though they tried hard for the goal that would take the tie to penalties, they never really came close to getting it.

 

MOM: Paul Murray defended well and tried hard to set up Milanda attacks.

 

----------

GDSML. Greenfield

 

AC Milanda 3 (Murray 3), Strathclyde University 5

 

Team: McAllister, Ross, Evans, Preston, Binnie, McLaughlin, Dunlop, MacDougall, Stewart, Lawson, Murray.

 

MILANDA shipped another three league points despite a hat-trick from The Great Paul Murray.

 

But considering all the call-offs due to injuries, work commitments etc, it wasn’t a bad effort.

 

Milanda had only 11 players available, including a trialist in midfield, and were forced to field defender Steven McAllister in goal.

 

It was far from ideal against a sweet-moving and cosmopolitan University side who had names such as Francesco Tudisco, Adrian Debouttiere, Carlos Portero and Pablo Pedrato on their team lines.

 

The opposition’s passing and movement from midfield to front was excellent and they were 2-0 ahead inside 20 minutes.

 

There were weaknesses at the back, however, and sloppy play by their keeper allowed The Great Paul Murray to pull one back with a gift goal.

But Strathclyde scored again thanks to poor defending on the home side’s part to be 3-1 ahead at the break.

 

It was vital for Milanda to score the next goal to stay in touch and they did so in the 49th minute when The Great Paul Murray swivelled and hit a left-foot shot on the turn into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

Unfortunately, Strathclyde scored a fourth from a free-kick and added a fifth just before the hour mark.

 

Milanda never gave up, though, and The Great Paul Murray hit a right-foot shot against the keeper’s right-hand post in the 73rd minute following good build-up play by Paul Ross and Andy McLaughlin.

 

Four minutes later, Neil Stewart had a shot saved after Scott Preston had got his head to a long throw by The Great Paul Murray.

 

But the final say went to The Great Paul Murray who completed his treble with a curling free-kick that the keeper probably should have saved.

Not one of Milanda’s better days but at least one player went home smiling.

 

MOM: The Great Paul Murray finally fulfilled the potential spotted by fast food chain mascot Ronald McDonald who awarded him a cheesburger for his scoring exploits as a child.

 

----------

John Rae Trophy. Oakburn Park, Milngavie

 

Milngavie BC 5, AC Milanda 2 (Johnston, Lawson pen)

 

Team: Dunlop, McAllister (O’Neill), Preston, Evans, Binnie, Fawns, MacDougall, Macdonald, Murray, Lawson, Johnstone.

 

MILANDA’S last hope of a cup run ended as they were overpowered by a young Milngavie side in the John Rae Trophy.

 

After two months of inactivity, Milanda held their own for more than an hour before being overrun.

 

If Milanda had taken their chances earlier in the game, it might have been a different story but they could have no real complaints about the final result.

 

The perfect start brought a goal after two minutes – and a typical Milanda effort it was. A long throw by Paul Murray was headed back by Scott Preston to set up a tap-in for Martin Johnstone at the far post.

 

Milngavie hit back and only a superb save by Robin Dunlop kept them from equalising.

 

However, he was beaten after 10 minutes. Milanda were sloppy in possession on the left and Milngavie were able to cross for their striker to net an excellent flying header.

 

Milanda then had a number of chances to regain the lead. Murray had a shot blocked following a long throw by Craig Fawns, Russell Lawson was close with a couple of free-kicks and the same player was denied by the keeper from close range after being set up by Roddy Macdonald.

 

Just before the break, Lawson sent another shot inches wide after cutting inside from the left.

 

Early in the second half, a Fawns pass put Johnstone clear for a one on one with the keeper who saved his shot.

Macdonald hit the top of the crossbar from a Lawson corner before Milngavie began to take control.

 

They made it 2-1 in the 71st minute following an attack down the right and then got a third goal following sloppy play by Milanda straight from the kick-off.

 

Milanda now looked a beaten team and Milngavie punished them with two more goals.

 

In the last minute, Lawson scored Milanda’s second from the penalty spot after Johnstone had been brought down.

 

MOM: Robin Dunlop will probably feel he should have done better with a couple of the goals against him but he had some excellent saves to keep the team’s hopes alive going into the final quarter.

 

----------

Vince McGlinchey Trophy quarter-final. Venue, Summerston

 

FC Anderston 7, AC Milanda 5 Scorers MacDonald (3), O'Neill, Murray

 

MILANDA have been involved in some bizarre games and scorelines in their history but this one takes a bit of beating. Presented with an unexpected opportunity to reach the semi-finals of the Vince McGlinchey Trophy following the expulsion of Caledonian University, Milanda came up against one of the new teams to the GDSML this season.

 

Milanda started favourites in terms of their standing in the top division but FC Anderston quickly showed themselves to be a highly capable young side.

Their play from middle to front was as good as anything you will see in the Premier Division but some of their defending was third rate. Hence the scoreline. Anderston looked dangerous every time they went up the field and it was the same with Milanda due to the defensive frailties of their opponents.

 

Trouble was Milanda had trouble getting hold of the ball long enough to mount as many attacks as Anderston. Roddy Macdonald scored a hat-trick inside the first 24 minutes for a Milanda side that was twice in front. They were also only one behind going into the final five minutes but just couldn’t get that one chance which might have allowed them to take the game to a penalty shootout, allowing Anderston to go on and restore their two-goal cushion.

 

Anderston opened the scoring in the fifth minute but a mere 60 seconds later Macdonald shot the equaliser. After nine minutes, Macdonald buried a good shot into the corner for his second goal after good lead-up play by Craig Fawns, Neil MacDougall and Russell Lawson. Anderston equalised on the 15-minute mark but back came Milanda and Macdonald completed his hat-trick with a header from a long throw by Fawns.

 

Robin Dunlop had a couple of tremendous saves to keep Milanda ahead but he was beaten again in the 38th minute. Lawson had a shot well saved after being set up by the link play of Dave O’Neill and Martin Johnstone before Anderston went 4-3 up in the 41st minute.Milanda were unlucky not to equalise just before the break when Scott Preston’s header from a Paul Murray corner was pushed over the bar by the keeper.

 

Lawson shot just wide at the start of the second period as Milanda went in search of parity once more. But the ball was soon down at the other end and some defensive slackness on Milanda’s part saw Anderston go 5-3 up.Jim Binnie and Co at the back were having to work tremedously hard to keep Milanda from being swamped and their efforts were rewarded when the deficit was cut again, O’Neill scoring with a header that looped over the keeper from a Fawns throw.

 

O’Neill should have scored again when another Murray corner found him unmarked at the back post but he headed wide. Milanda were made to pay for that when Anderston made it 6-4 in 68 minutes.

 

But for the next 15 minutes or so Anderston contrived to miss a number of chances, allowing Milanda to punish them with a fifth goal in the 85th minute. MacDougall and Johnstone were involved in a good counter-attack which was finished off by Murray’s shot through the keeper’s legs. The draw looked a distinct possibility for a couple of minutes but no longer than that as Anderston broke down the Milanda left and scored their seventh.

 

Milanda worked tremendously hard in an effort to keep up with with lively and talented opponents but in the end there can be no doubt the better team won.

 

AC Milanda – Dunlop, Fawns, Preston, Evans, Binnie, O’Neill (Duncan), MacDougall, Macdonald, Murray, Lawson, Johnstone.

 

Man of the Match: A super hat-trick and a great shift in midfield from Roddy Macdonald made him Milanda’s best player.

 

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John Brown’s pitches, Clydebank. GDSML

 

Kiklpatrick Thistle 2, AC Milanda 2 (Macdonald, Lawson)

 

MILANDA ended a run of defeats with a hard-earned league point.

 

It was a game they might have won on chances created but one they might also have lost as Kilpatrick mounted a late assault.

 

Without a recognised keeper, Craig Fawns having failed to make it to the game due to car trouble, the Milanda management would have taken a point before a ball was kicked so perhaps we should not be too disappointed all three points didn’t come our way.

 

With three new faces in the squad after weeks of struggling to get a team on the park, the Milanda dressing room looked a bit healthier for this one.

 

Young Greig Harley almost made an instant impact when he slipped the ball past the keeper to set up a tap-tin for Martin Johnstone but his strike partner had strayed offside and the goal was correctly chalked off.

 

On a difficult pitch there wasn’t a lot of football played, particularly in the first half, but Milanda certainly did more pressing. Rod Macdonald saw a couple of shots go wide, Russell Lawson also missed the target when he had a shooting opportunity and Johnstone fired over the top after doing well to make space for himself inside the box.

 

However, the second half was only 10 minutes old when Lawson broke down the left and set up Macdonald to squeeze a shot home at the keeper’s near post.

 

Milanda had the lead for only three minutes, though, because carelessness in possession at the back provided Kiklpatrick with their first real chance and the ball was fired past stand-in keeper Paul Ross.

 

Back came Milanda and they scored again on the hour, Lawson taking a perfect pass from Dave O’Neill on his chest before swivelling and firing the ball into the net from 10 yards.

 

Kilpatrick seemed to come out of their shell more after this and started to cause problems. They equalised after 75 minutes from the penalty spot after a rash challenge by Gerry Evans.

 

The final 15 minutes saw chances at both ends but no more goals. Neil MacDougall shot wide, new boy David McKechnie passed up a couple of decent opportunities and Johnstone had a goal harshly chalked off by referee Gerry Lyons and another penalty claim turned down.

 

But Milanda also had an escape in the dying minutes after Ross had made a good save but couldn’t hold the ball. One of the Kilpatrick forwards picked up the rebound and fired it towards the gaping goal but Evans got back to make a fantastic goal-line block with his chest and then watched as Kilpatrick’s next effort was blasted off target.

 

MOM: Deciding who was the best player is a tough one this week because all 14 players on duty made good contributions. Paul Ross did an excellent job as stand-in keeper and Gerry Evans, despite giving away a penalty, had a solid game at the back. Russell Lawson looked threatening in the second half and took his goal well, while Andy McLaughlin was lively going forward when he went on. Martin Johnstone worked hard throughout but had no luck and Roddy Macdonald made his usual excellent contribution until forced off by injury. But for sheer consistency, man of the match goes to new signing Colin McLaughlan who worked tirelessly in midfield to break up attacks and get the play moving in the other direction.

 

Team - Ross, O'Neill, Preston, Evans, Duncan (McKechnie), Lawson, McLaughlan, Macdonald (MacDougall), Murray, Harley (McLaughlin), Johnstone.

 

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GDSML. Venue, Lochend

 

Glasgow Islay 3, AC Milanda 2 (Murray, MacDougall)

 

MILANDA proved no match for Glasgow Islay and surrendered another three league points. Islay were stronger and fitter and the scoreline doesn’t reflect their superiority.

 

Milanda were fortunate to be 2-1 ahead at the break but their luck run out in a poor second half in which the Islay keeper was pretty much a spectator.

Islay went ahead in the 16th minute when Milanda gave away possession in midfield and were left badly exposed as the home centre-forward went through to beat Robin Dunlop.

 

But it was 1-1 just 11 minutes later when a curling corner by Paul Murray was punched into his own net by the Islay keeper under pressure from a couple of Milanda players.Milanda then took the lead two minutes later when Neil MacDougall netted from close range after Roddy Macdonald and Martin Johnstone had created the opening.

 

The game was fairly even at this point but Islay started to take control towards half-time and it took three superb saves by Dunlop to preserve the away team’s lead. Milanda, who had lost Dave O’Neill to a back injury early in the match, also had to replace Colin McLaughlan and Gerry Evans due to knocks in the second period.

 

Islay took advantage of poor defending to score their second and third goals in the 56th and 64th minutes.That left Milanda plenty of time to try to salvage at least a point but it never looked likely to happen.

 

Johnstone worked tremendously hard as the lone striker but support from a five-man midfield, featuring new signing Gordon Chisholm, just wasn’t there often enough. Basically, Milanda got what they deserved. Nothing.

 

AC Milanda – Dunlop, O’Neill (McKechnie), Preston, Evans (Harley), Murray, Lawson, Chisholm, Macdonald, McLaughlan (Ross), MacDougall, Johnstone. Sub not used: Binnie.

MOM: Robin Dunlop kept the score respectable with some excellent goalkeeping.

 

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GDSML Nethercraigs

 

Invac 2 AC Milanda 0

 

An under-strength Milanda team fought hard but ended up with no reward from a tight match.

With nine regulars unavailable, it was only possible to get 11 men on the pitch with the help of trialists Steven Snowdon and Milanda legend Thomas Addison. Just to make matters worse, Gerry Evans, Dave O’Neill and Colin McLaughlan were less than 100 per cent fit and Roddy Macdonald was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Oh, and we didn’t have either of the regular keepers so Paul Ross had to stick on the gloves again.

 

Taking all that into account, it was a more than decent performance and Invac knew they had been in a game. It wasn’t a great spectacle for any neutral observer with few clear-cut chances created. A couple of efforts by Paul Murray, a header by O’Neill and a good effort by Macdonald that was blocked were the Milanda highlights of the first half.

 

Invac scored with two shots from just outside the box in the 55th and 57th minutes, the second from a rebound effort after a free-kick had hit the defensive wall, and Milanda spent the rest of the game trying to reduce the deficit.Greig Harley was unlucky with a couple of efforts but the Invac keeper wasn’t exactly overworked.

 

Invac are a big, powerful side and proved difficult to break down but Milanda certainly weren’t disgraced.

 

MOM: A good all-round team effort. Roddy Macdonald worked particularly hard up front despite feeling well below par, Steven Snowdon made some excellent runs on the right, Colin McLaughlan beavered away in midfield and the defence as a unit performed strongly against a dangerous Invac strike-force. Paul Ross also did a good job as stand-in keeper and was unlucky not to end up with a clean sheet. But man of the match this week goes to Dave O’Neill who shrugged off a back problem to play his part at left-back and was always willing to break forward to help the attack.

 

Team – Ross, Addison, Preston, Evans, O’Neill, Snowdon, Chisholm, McLaughlan, Murray, Macdonald, Harley. Subs: None. Good job no one got injured, especially as Paul Murray had locked the medical bag in his car.

 

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GDSML. Greenfield

 

AC Milanda 3 (Macdonald, Johnstone, Lawson), Kilpatrick Th 2

 

IT’S been a long time coming but Milanda finally got another league win under their belts on Saturday. Having failed in two previous attempts this season to get the better of old rivals Kilpatrick Thistle, it was good to see the players rewarded for a hard-working performance. The scoreline should have been more impressive as Milanda were 3-0 up with just minutes to play but they lost a couple of bad goals and had to endure a nervous finale.

 

The bitterly cold wind and rain made good football almost impossible but both teams tried their best. Martin Johnstone wasn’t far off target with a shot following a Paul Murray throw before Kilpatrick broke clear and would have scored but for a fantastic save by Robin Dunlop, who touched the striker’s low shot round his left-hand post.

 

The first goal was clearly going to be important and Milanda got it in the 35th minute. Another of Murray’s special throws was cleared only as far as Roddy Macdonald inside the box and his low left-foot shot beat the keeper. Macdonald had another chance just before the break but couldn’t keep the ball down and it cleared the bar.

 

Milanda were forced into a defensive reshuffle at the break when Gerry Evans complained of a hamstring problem. Gordy Chisholm took over, joining a solid threesome of Paul Ross, Scott Preston and Jim Binnie. Milanda needed the cushion of another goal and Russell Lawson was unlucky with a shot against the near post from Murray’s throw.

 

With Kilpatrick pushing more and more men forward in search of an equaliser, a piece of smart thinking by Murray helped Milanda go 2-0 up in the 78th minute. His quick throw over the last defender found Martin Johnstone and he slammed the ball home to earn his reward for 90 minutes of graft. Like the buses, it wasn’t long till another one came along. Neil MacDougall, who had replaced the hard-working Greig Harley, sent a ball through the middle and Lawson took advantage of a mistake by the keeper to score into an empty net.

 

That was it done and dusted. Or so we thought.

 

Milanda’s suicidal streak then took over and the loss of a bad goal in the 87th minute following a mix-up between keeper Dunlop and Preston gave Kilpatrick a lifeline. A minute later, they scored again from a suspiciously offside position. The referee may or may not have got that one wrong but by playing offside Milanda gave him the opportunity to get it wrong and that constitutes poor play.

 

There was still time for Kilpatrick to get another one and they did create an opportunity but fortunately Milanda held on for a welcome – and deserved – result.

 

AC Milanda – Dunlop, Ross, Preston, Evans (Chisholm), Binnie (Fawns), Lawson, Macdonald, McLaughlan, Murray, Johnstone, Harley (MacDougall). Sub not used: O’Neill.

MOM: Spoilt for choice when it comes to man of the match this week. Definitely no failures, with Paul Ross, Jim Binnie, Colin McLaughlan, Roddy Macdonald, Paul Murray and Russell Lawson especially good. In the end, the accolade goes to Paul Murray for his two assists and all-round excellence. Even if he does talk utter shite.

 

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GDSML, Stepford

 

AC Milanda 3 (O’Neill, Johnstone, McLaughlin), Pursuers 1

 

THREE more much-needed points for Milanda as they continue their bidto get away from the GDSML drop zone. The team carried on the good work from the win over Kilpatrick Thistle, despite a number of call-offs.

 

With only 12 men to pick from at the start of the match, Martin Johnstone was given yet another different partner up front in David McKechnie in his final game before going to work in America. With Robin Dunlop and Craig Fawns both working, Paul Ross took over the gloves again.

 

Milanda made a promising start and Roddy Macdonald shot wide from an excellent through ball by Martin Johnstone.The opener arrived after 14 minutes. Russell Lawson fired a corner low into the box and Dave O’Neill thumped it first time into the net. Unfortunately, the lead was short lived as the pace of Pursuers’ No.11 Martyn McGuigan got him in behind the Milanda defence to shoot the equaliser past Ross.

 

With Milanda having been forced to replace the injured Lawson with sole substitute Andy McLaughlin, they looked vulnerable as the second half began.

 

However, a goal after three minutes settled the nerves. Scott Preston burst forward on the right and fired in a brilliant cross for Johnstone to score with a diving header. O’Neill almost scored again with a hook shot after Johnstone had headed a Paul Murray corner to the back post but the ball just missed

the target.

 

Late arrival Gordon Chisholm bravely replaced the injured Jim Binnie, despite suffering from an ear problem, and immediately augmented the good work being done in midfield by McLaughlin, Macdonald and Neil MacDougall.

 

Murray moved to left-back and improved communications in the back four by doing what he does best, talking. So much so that the suggestion began to be made that he would be the ideal candidate for team captain. The suggestion, not surprisingly,came from him.

 

Milanda’s goal had a couple of lucky escapes as Pursuers contrived to miss some decent chances. So when the third goal came along in the 72nd minute it brought some breathing space.

 

Murray curled in a beauty of a free-kick that the keeper pushed on to the bar at full stretch and as he lay on the ground helpless McLaughlin reacted quickest to nod his first goal for the team into the empty net.

 

Pursuers pushed hard in the final minutes and there were some nervous moments for Milanda but in fact the closest they came to losing a goal was when Macdonald sent a clearing header in the wrong direction and Ross had to dive to block the ball at his near post.

 

AC Milanda – Ross, O’Neill, Preston, Evans, Binnie (Chisholm), Lawson, (McLaughlin), Macdonald, MacDougall, Murray, Johnstone, McKechnie.

 

MOM: Another excellent all-round team performance. Paul Ross did superbly again as stand-in keeper and the back four were pretty solid for most of the match, with Scott Preston and Dave O’Neill also finding time to help in attack. Striker Martin Johnstone’s hold-up play was sheer class and the men behind him in midfield all put in great shifts. The pick of them was Roddy Macdonald and he takes the man of the match award.

 

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GDSML, KGV Renfrew.

 

Renfrew Town 0, AC Milanda 3 (Snowdon, O’Neill, Harley).

 

MILANDA completed a rare league double over the reigning GDSML champions with a magnificent performance.

A shortage of regulars required the inclusion of two trialists to make up a squad of 13 but there was no shortage of quality on show as the team produced arguably the best all-round display of the season.

 

Milanda have often struggled on Renfrew’s big pitch but not this time. Every single player – one of whom was the returning Kevin Grehan after a long injury absence – produced the goods as the team followed their 4-2 Greenfield victory over the league leaders with an even better scoreline.Paul Ross took over the gloves again in place of the absent Robin Dunlop and Craig Fawns and fully deserved his shutout.

 

His defence and midfield gave him excellent cover and kept Renfrew danger man Chris Burke very quiet, the attacker being forced to shoot from distance on several occasions because he couldn’t find a way through. And up front trialist Steven “Iron Man” Snowdon led the attack brilliantly, giving the Renfrew defence as hard a 90 minutes as they’ve had in a long time with his power and pace. Alongside him, Greig Harley worked hard and, like Snowdon, notched his first goal for the club.

 

The first half was controlled by Renfrew but they created only one or two clear-cut chances and wasted them with poor finishing.

Milanda only really threatened from set-pieces. They had one half-chance which fell to Harley at the back post but he was slow to react and didn’t manage to test the keeper.

 

It looked as if the second half would follow the same pattern until two goals in three minutes put Milanda in the driving seat. The opener came in the 58th minute when foreceful midfield play by Neil MacDougall and Colin McLaughlan set up Snowdon to power his way through the middle of the home defence and knock the ball past the advancing keeper.

 

Renfrew hadn’t recovered from that blow when Milanda scored again, Dave O’Neill controlling a MacDougall corner at the back post and firing in a low shot for his fifth goal of the season. Snowdon fastened on to an superb Roddy Macdonald pass in the 65th minute and burst through the Renfrew defence again but a last-ditch tackle stopped him doubling his tally.

 

Renfrew were trying hard to get back into the match but found themselves up against a midfield and defence that was giving very little away. On the odd occasion the home side did get behind Gerry Evans and Co, Paul Murray was always there to sweep up.

The third goal in the 73rd minute effectively ended the contest.

 

A Murray corner was somehow missed by substitute Grehan in the centre of the six-yard box but met by O’Neill at the back post. His effort was cleared off the line but only as far as Harley who thumped the ball into the net. Milanda, with new face David Galbraith on in defence for the unwell Scott Preston, expected a tough final 15 minutes against a Renfrew side needing points for their title bid but in truth they finished the game very comfortably.

 

AC Milanda – Ross, O’Neill, Preston (Galbraith), Evans, Moray, Chisholm (Grehan), Macdonald, McLaughlan, MacDougall, Snowdon, Harley.

 

MOM: Every player contributed greatly to a well-earned win but Steven Snowdon just edges the man of the match award for his fantastic contribution. Took his goal well and was the ideal out ball for Milanda with his willingness to chase and harry defenders.

 

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GDSML. Stepford.

 

AC MILANDA 3 RED STAR BALLIESTON 0 Scorer: Roddy Macdonald (3)

 

MILANDA made it four wins on the trot with another 3-0 victory to stay on course for a top-half finish in the Glasgow and District Saturday Morning league.

Midfielder Roddy Macdonald scored his second hat-trick of the season as the team recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time since September last year. On that previous occasion, they also did it with two 3-0 wins, against Invac at home and AFC Columba away.

Impressive form indeed and it makes you wonder if Milanda might have been in the running for prizes if they hadn’t had so many injury and other personnel problems earlier in the campaign.

Not that the dressing room is exactly bursting with players these days. Injury, sickness and work call-offs meant just 13 players were duty for this game and one of them, Scott Preston, was still not feeling 100 per cent after illness.

But the spirit in the camp is always good with this group and they set about the task of getting the better of double cup finalists Red Star with great enthusiasm.

Red Star had rested a couple of players with the first of their cup finals looming but they still had a strong team out.

They found themselves behind after 10 minutes, however, thanks to a Milanda goal that combined great skill and determination. Russell Lawson picked up the ball on the right and looked set to drive at the opposition defence. However, he took a different option and chipped an exquisite ball over the Red Star central defence for Roddy Macdonald who held off a defender to force the ball past the keeper.

Milanda kept pressing and Lawson, Macdonald and Dave O’Neill came close to scoring after good play by Martin Johnstone and free-kick specialist Paul Murray.

Johnstone himself wasn’t far away with a shot just before the break after a long throw by David Galbraith had been laid off to him by Lawson.

The defence was playing so well that keeper Craig Fawns wasn’t being asked to do a lot but an excellent save with his feet kept the lead intact early in the second half.

In the 63rd minute, Milanda doubled their advantage. A free-kick from the left by Lawson took a nick off a defender and fell for Macdonald at the back post to volley home a beauty.

Milanda continued to make the better chances and wrapped up the points with a third goal five minutes from time. Red Star were caught square trying to play a couple of Milanda players offside when Colin McLaughlin played a through ball but neither attempted to touch it, allowing Macdonald to power through from midfield and finish in style.

 

Team – Fawns, Galbraith, O’Neill, Evans, Murray, A McLaughlin (Preston), Grehan, Macdonald, C McLaughlin, Johnstone (Harley), Lawson.

 

MOM: Roddy Macdonald was man of the match for his work rate in midfield and three tremendous finishes. However, this was another superb team performance and everyone played his part. Returning keeper Craig Fawns was a safe pair of hands, while the defenders can feel pleased with their second successive shutout.

 

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GDSML: Stepps.

 

STRATHCLYDE UNIVERSITY 1 AC MILANDA 1 Scorer: Russell Lawson

 

MILANDA stretched their unbeaten run to five games with a hard-fought draw against quality opposition.The first half honours went to Milanda and although Strathclyde had more of the ball in the second half, they made few clear-cut chances and had to rely on a mysterious penalty award to take a point.

 

Over the piece, Milanda had more opportunities to score and on another day might have secured the three points they needed to leapfrog their opponents into fourth place in the GDSML table.The game was fairly even in the opening stages. Martin Johnstone broke on the left thanks to a Colin McLaughlin pass and set up Russell Lawson for a shot that bobbled wide.

 

At the other end, one of the Strathclyde players headed against Robin Dunlop's right-hand post following a corner.But Milanda went ahead after 20 minutes when a clearance by Dunlop put Lawson clear of the home defence and he lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper. A quality finish.

 

It was so nearly 2-0 in the 33rd minute when McLaughlin again sent Johnstone down the left. His ball across goal caused panic in the home defence but Kevin Grehan and then Lawson just couldn't force the ball over the line.Strathclyde had a goal disallowed just before the break for a hand ball offence.

 

The young, fit students began to impose themselves more after the break and equalised from a penalty they didn't even claim for in the 50th minute. Referee George Dunbar spotted an offence that no one else did and Milanda paid the price. For all Strathclyde's territorial advantage, Milanda continued to have chances on the break but the final pass or shot just wasn't up to the recent high standard.

 

Grehan poked one chance wide following a David Galbraith free-kick, Johnstone put a couple of efforts just off target and Lawson came close in the final minute with a blistering drive. But in the final analysis both teams had to be happy with a share of the points.

 

Team – Dunlop, Galbraith (Binnie), Preston (O’Neill), Evans, Murray, Chisholm (Fawns), Grehan, Macdonald, C McLaughlin, Johnstone, Lawson. Sub not used: Harley.

 

MOM: Defensively Milanda were solid again with Gerry Evans and Paul Murray playing particularly well. Roddy Macdonald ran himself into the ground in central midfield and was another man of the match candidate but the award this time goes to Colin McLaughlin who put in a great shift on the left of midfield, breaking up attacks and helping Milanda threaten on the counter.

 

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GDSML: Glasgow Green.

 

ASHFIELD 2 AC MILANDA 2 Scorers: Russell Lawson (pen), Greig Harley

 

MILANDA made it six games unbeaten but were left kicking themselves that they hadn’t taken full points from one of the main title contenders. Having twice been ahead and gifted their opponents equalisers, the players felt after the game that the draw seemed like a defeat. A share of the points with Ashfield at Glasgow Green would normally be seen as a good result but this time it was a little disappointing.

 

The team put in a magnificent effort over the 90 minutes and probably just about deserved to win but it wasn’t to be. Ashfield made the better start and could have had an early opener but keeper Craig Fawns left his line to make a superb blocking save and Paul Murray stopped the follow-up effort on the line with his chest, despite Ashfield claims for hand ball.

 

Milanda were doing their best work on the break and the front two of Russell Lawson and Greig Harley had shots at goal following good build-up play involving Rod Macdonald and Kevin Grehan. Milanda should have scored after 33 minutes. A low corner kick by Lawson was flicked on at the near post by Macdonald but there was no one to apply the finishing touch as the ball zipped through the six-yard box. Six minutes later came another near miss. Harley sent Grehan down the left and he found Lawson who knocked the ball over the advancing keeper and the bar.

 

Milanda, with Neil MacDougall on for the injured Gordon Chisholm, were unlucky again at the start of the second period when Harley put Grehan clear with an excellent pass and his shot came back off the bar.But they did take the lead on the hour. Harley had a shot blocked when a goal looked certain but in trying to mop up one of the Ashfield defenders controlled the ball with a hand and the referee gave a penalty. Lawson did his usual immaculate job from the spot and finally the deadlock was broken.

 

But five minutes later Ashfield equalised from a penalty after a rash challenge by Paul Murray.

 

But back came Milanda and they regained the lead in the 76th minute. A long throw by David Galbraith was headed back by Grehan, then hooked over his shoulder by Lawson for Harley to head home. A cracking goal.Ashfield could see their title chance slipping away and so threw more and more men forward but they didn’t look like breaching a solid defence.But then Murray, who had been playing well, tried to shepherd a through ball back to Fawns and allowed their No.9 to toe-poke the ball into the net. A cheap goal to lose, especially as the keeper had been screaming for the ball to be booted clear.

 

Even after that Milanda had a half-chance to take full points but the Ashfield keeper blocked an effort by Macdonald following a Murray free-kick. So one point rather than three but another good showing by Milanda and if they had played like this in some of the games earlier in the season they would be in the title mix themselves.

 

Team – Fawns, Galbraith, O’Neill, Evans, Murray, Chisholm (MacDougall), Grehan, Macdonald, C McLaughlin, Harley (Preston), Lawson.

 

MOM: Once again a terrific team performance with great work rate and no shortage of skill in each department of the team. The midfield battled for everything and the front two of Greig Harley and Russell Lawson kept Ashfield stretched and provided the goals while also doing their share of tracking back. The defence was impressive again and provided good cover for keeper Craig Fawns who himself produced some good saves and safe handling. Gerry Evans has been highly consistent of late and was the pick of the back line in this match, so he takes the man of the match award.

 

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GDSML: Greenfield.

 

AC MILANDA 3 AFC COLUMBA 3 Scorers: Johnstone, Grehan, MacDougall

 

MILANDA had to come from behind to take the point that stretched their unbeaten run to seven games. The draw also saw them leapfrog Strathclyde University and into fourth place in the table on goal difference. Milanda played poorly in the first 45 minutes and were second best to the team sitting bottom of the table. However, there was more fight in the second half and the players deserve praise for taking something from what was beginning to look a lost cause.

 

Columba, hoping to keep alive their slim hopes of staying up, were fired up for the game and made a good start. In the opening minutes, they hit the woodwork, scored a goal and had another chalked off. The goal that counted was similar to the one conceded the previous week against Ashfield in that a defender, this time Scott Preston, could have cleared the ball quite comfortably but took the wrong option and the ball ended up in Craig Fawns’s net. Milanda had their share of attacks but the final pass was poor and so clear-cut chances were hard to come by. A couple of Kevin Grehan headers and a fierce Russell Lawson shot that the keeper saved with his right foot were about the only efforts of note.

 

Still only a goal down, Milanda knew they could get back in the match after the break but it was Columba who continued on top. Fawns had a superb double save to keep the scoreline the same but was beaten after 55 minutes from a corner, the ball going in off defender Gerry Evans.

Milanda had their work cut out now but they started to create better chances. Dave O’Neill headed a Paul Murray corner wide at the back post and Grehan volleyed a Martin Johnstone cross over the top.

 

Then Grehan set up Johnstone with a cutback from the left but the striker just failed to control the bouncing ball and another opportunity slipped away.

However, Milanda finally pulled one back after 63 minutes, Johnstone firing home after the Columba defence had made a mess of dealing with a long clearance by Fawns. Substitute David Galbraith fired another shot wide shortly after going on and it seemed as if the tide had turned.

 

However, Columba scored a good breakaway goal in the 68th minute to put themselves right back in the driving seat. Milanda refused to give up, though, and with Colin McLaughlin, Grehan and Neil MacDougall battling hard for possession in the congested central midfield there were signs that Columba might be tiring.

 

In the 80th minute, the comeback began when Grehan headed home a pinpoint Lawson free-kick from the left. Then, with just four minutes remaining, a quickly taken throw by Paul Murray was knocked home from close range by MacDougall.

 

Milanda could even have snatched a victory at the death but that would have been harsh on Columba who certainly deserved something from the game.

 

Team – Fawns, O’Neill, Evans, Preston, Murray, Lawson, Grehan, C McLaughlin, MacDougall, Harley (Galbraith), Johnstone. Sub not used: Ross

 

MOM:Skipper Kevin Grehan worked hard throughout, tried to get more out of his team-mates and scored a good goal so he takes the award this week.

 

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GDSML Stepford.

 

AC MILANDA 1 ASHFIELD 2 Scorers: MacDougall

 

MILANDA paid the price for missing too many chances as their seven-match unbeaten run came to an end at wet and windy Stepford. It was fourth v third in terms of league placings and, having drawn 2-2 at Glasgow Green a couple of weeks earlier, the teams were always likely to produce another tight affair. Milanda had more chances over the 90 minutes and deserved at least a draw but Ashfield were more clinical in their finishing and walked away with full points.

 

Although Ashfield, like Milanda, were clearly struggling for bodies, the 11 they put out were impressive, particularly going forward. Despite being against the wind in the opening 45 minutes, they took the lead early on when their unmarked striker headed home after a break down the left. But Milanda were soon peppering the Ashfield goal with shots and their trialist keeper had some terrific saves, notably from long-range efforts by Rod Macdonald and Russell Lawson.

 

After 15 minutes the game was all square. The visiting keeper had been hard to beat with high shots but he couldn’t keep out a low effort from the edge of the box by Neil MacDougall following good play by Greig Harley. Milanda kept pressing and could have had at least a couple more before the break. Macdonald knocked the ball wide from good position from a Lawson pass then burst through again minutes later only to be denied by the keeper.

 

Dave O’Neill might also have done better when he beat everyone to a Paul Murray corner but headed off target. Ashfield were expected to dominate the second half but Milanda continued to make – and miss – good chances. Lawson had one saved by the keeper after a superb through ball by Kevin Grehan. Then Milanda were refused what looked a stonewall penalty kick after MacDougall had been fouled in the box. The midfielder was injured in the process and had to be replaced by Andy McLaughlin.

 

Ashfield regained the lead just before the hour mark with another sucker punch goal. Again the ball was moved down the left and delivered into the box for free header No.2.

 

There was plenty of time for Milanda to get back into the match and they came close on a number of occasions. The best effort came when Lawson broke on the right and fired an inviting ball into the box but Macdonald’s shot was off target. So disappointment in the end for Milanda who will probably have to win their final game away to Pursuers to hang on to fourth place.

 

Team – Ross, Binnie, O’Neill, Evans, Murray, MacDougall (A McLaughlin), Grehan, Macdonald, C McLaughlin, Lawson, Harley.

 

MOM: A great effort from every player and all that was missing was a rub of the green or a little bit more composure in terms of finishing. Jim Binnie did a sterling job at right-back after missing a couple of games and in front of him goalscorer Neil MacDougall was performing well until injury forced him off. Greig Harley did some terrific work up front and is looking better with the every outing. But this week’s man of the match goes to Paul Ross who took over the gloves again despite not feeling 100 per cent after a rib injury. He had no chance with the two goals but made some excellent saves and once again showed what a great team player he is.

 

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GDSML Glasgow Green.

 

PURSUERS 4 AC MILANDA 3 Scorers: Russell Lawson 2, Kevin Grehan

 

MILANDA brought the curtain down on a rollercoaster season with one of their poorest performances of the campaign. The attitude was poor from the start with players appearing not to be bothered whether they won or lost. The passing was diabolical and there was a lack of movement off the ball so that made it easy for a Pursuers team who were far hungrier for the points. Milanda’s players deserve some credit for fighting back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 in the second half. However, they then threw away the advantage by conceding two more goals in the final 20 minutes.

 

Pursuers were playing with a defender in goal but you would never have known it thanks to a reluctance on the part of the away team to have a shot at goal. It was just an all-round sloppy performance and such a disappointing way to end a season that had promised so much more.

Milanda, without striker Martin Johnstone whose car had given up the ghost en route to the match, were two goals behind after 40 minutes due to individual mistakes.

 

They could have been level but Greig Harley had a good header from a Paul Murray corner blocked and Russell Lawson and Rod Macdonald missed excellent chances. But they got one back in the 42nd minute when Harley sent Lawson clear and he coolly rounded the keeper to net. Murray came close to equalising with a rare shot on target shortly after that but the keeper got his fingertips to the ball and diverted it away from goal.

 

Milanda started the second half better and were unlucky when Lawson wriggled his way along the byeline and cut the ball back for Macdonald whose flick just went wide. The equaliser duly arrived in the 55th minute. A free-kick from Lawson crashed off the keeper’s right-hand post and Kevin Grehan reacted quickest to blast the ball home from close range.

 

It wasn’t long till the third goal came along. This time Murray’s long throw was flicked back by Grehan and Lawson headed home.Even though Milanda had enjoyed their best spell in the game, Pursuers were always dangerous on the break and only some good goalkeeping and good luck kept them out at times.

 

However, the home side equalised 20 minutes from the end with a low shot from the edge of the box and went 4-3 up with a header from a corner 10 minutes later.

 

There was still time for Milanda to salvage something from the game but on the day they just didn’t have enough of the quality required. Injuries to Grehan and Scott Preston didn’t help matters and even the appearance of former Milanda skipper Martin Coyle to support the boys couldn't inspire another comeback as Pursuers held on for a deserved victory.

 

Team – Dunlop, Galbraith (Binnie), O’Neill (Preston), Evans, Murray, MacDougall (Fawns), Grehan, Macdonald, C McLaughlin, Lawson, Harley.

 

MOM: Not too many players managed pass marks in this one. Gerry Evans was the best defender and Colin McLaughlin the best midfielder. Up front, Greig Harley played well again but man of the match goes to his strike parter Russell Lawson.