Vince McGlinchey Trophy quarter-final. Peterson Park.
Caledonian University 4 AC Milanda 2
Scorers - Kelly, Johnstone
Team - Fawns, Binnie (Evans), Chisholm, Murray, Thomson, Ross, Grehan, Kelly, Macdonald, McLaughlin, Johnstone. Subs not used: Di Folco, Harley, O’Neill.
Milanda’s last chance of silverware disappeared on yet another day when not a lot went right. Two goals and a man down after 10 minutes wasn’t the best of starts and when another goal was lost with just 25 minutes played, it looked like being a very difficult morning.
However, the players responded well, got the tie back to 3-2 and were just a bad bounce away from making it 3-3 before the students netted their fourth goal. It was a good effort in the circumstances but ultimately their efforts went unrewarded because of those disastrous few minutes at the beginning of the game.
A new central defensive partnership was tried to stem the flow of goals flying into Milanda’s net but Paul Murray and Gordon Chisholm weren’t together long. Caley scored after five minutes and went 2-0 ahead from a penalty after 10 following a tackle by Chisholm who was sent off.
It looked at first as if the referee might show just a yellow card because there were other players in the vicinity who might have made a saving challenge but in the end the official decided the Milanda defender was the last man. Milanda almost pulled one back four minutes later when Martin Johnstone produced a brilliant burst of pace to reach the byeline and cut the ball back for Colin Kelly to fire just wide.
With the wind behind them, Caley continued to cause problems and scored a third goal following a corner. They had one or two other opportunities to score but were thwarted by keeper Craig Fawns.
The University side were lucky not to have a man sent off when Johnstone was impeded as he tried to break clear. All Milanda were given was a free-kick that came to nothing. However, they did get a goal back 10 minutes before the break. Kelly picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and ran at the home defence before firing in a low shot that the keeper got a hand to but couldn’t keep out. An excellent individual effort.
Milanda were back in it and even more so after an hour when Johnstone made it 3-2 after good leading-up work by Kevin Grehan and Kelly.Caley were starting to look panicky as Milanda began to make more chances. Their keeper made a good block at the back post from Roddy Macdonald following a Murray free-kick then Kelly fired an effort just past.
In the 78th minute, Milanda thought their moment had arrived. A wind-assisted clearance by Fawns beat both central defenders and Johnstone was in but the ball just got away from him on the heavy surface, allowing the keeper to save at his feet. Seconds later, Caley broke upfield and fired in a fourth goal to settle the tie.
MOM: Everyone worked tremendously against young and lively opponents and that is highlighted by the fact that 10 men achieved a 2-2 draw against 11 over 80 minutes. That is small consolation perhaps but worthy of note. Captain Kevin Grehan led by example and put in a tremendous shift so he gets man of the match.