League Cup - Hamilton
Cambuslang Rok 1 AC Milanda 3 (HT 0-2)
Scorers - Johnstone, Fawns, Harley
Team: K O’Donnell, Reid, Evans, Preston, McKenzie, Fawns, Murray, R O’Donnell, Harley, Kelly, Johnstone. Subs not used Binnie, P O’Donnell.
Milanda made a positive start to their League Cup section by taking three points at the Jock Stein Centre in Hamilton. Two goals to the good inside the first 15 minutes, they looked in the mood to repeat their 6-0 thrashing of the Cambuslang boys in last season’s tournament. But they failed to add to their tally before the interval and the home team bounced back to dominate the second half.
In fact, Cambuslang were a bit unlucky not take something from the game and certainly would have but for the form of Kyle O’Donnell in the Milanda goal. The youngster, deputising for holidaying Ross Mitchell, made half-a-dozen excellent saves and was the major difference between the sides. It was a struggle to get a team on the park once again. Just 13 players were available and two of them were keepers. Craig Fawns, regular stand-in for Mitchell in recent times, was pressed into service as a midfielder while young O’Donnell took the gloves. Scott Preston returned and slotted into a defensive unit that wasn’t exactly overworked in the opening period of the match.
Milanda took the lead after 10 minutes, Colin Kelly running at the Cambuslang rearguard before slipping the perfect ball through for strike partner Martin Johnstone to provide a cool finish.
This would have come as no surprise to the Cambuslang No.9 who was heard to say that Johnstone didn’t look like a player but was “actually quite good”. Classic. Three minutes later, it was 2-0. Fawns took a free-kick from 30 yards and his shot deceived the home keeper and ended up in the back of the net.
There was then a fairly lengthy lull in the action until Ryan O’Donnell burst through from central midfield and carved out a shooting opportunity which he curled just wide. Just before the break, Kelly worked his way into the box and hit a shot that the keeper could only block. Greig Harley followed up and looked set to stick the loose ball away but one of the home defenders managed to block.
Milanda missed another opportunity early in the second half. A clever back-heel by Johnstone allowed Kelly to scamper into the box but his chip over the keeper also cleared the bar. Cambuslang came much more into the game from then on and keeper O’Donnell made several fine saves, including two in the one attack, to keep Milanda in control.
He was finally beaten in the 80th minute and it looked at that stage as if the visitors would be in for a hectic finale.
However, Milanda quickly restored their two-goal cushion. Paul Murray fired over a corner and Harley managed to outmuscle his marker and force the ball into the net. Cambuslang never gave up, though, and another superb O’Donnell stop prevented them scoring a second.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Everyone contributed to a hard-fought win but Kyle O’Donnell was the outstanding performer.