League, Colquhoun Park, Bearsden
Parklife 2 AC Milanda 4.
Scorers - Murray (pen), MacDonald, own goal, McLaughlin.
Team - Reid, MacDougall, Evans, Preston, Thomson, O’Neill, Grehan, Murray, McLaughlin, Harley, Macdonald
ELEVEN absolute heroes. No substitutes, no recognised keeper but still Milanda managed to pull off a stunning victory. Parklife are a good team with some excellent players but on the day they were second best to a side that gave everything for three much-needed points. Down to the bare bones due to a combination of problems, Milanda were very much underdogs going into this one and even more so when Dave O’Neill suffered a recurrence of a back injury in the first half. However, the players dug deep and produced a tremendous performance, showing the kind of spirit that would have kept Milanda out of the relegation battle had it been shown more often earlier in the season.
Parklife had the wind at their backs and stand-in keeper Mark Reid was picking the ball out of the net after just seven minutes following a powerful shot from just outside the box. The home team had their tactics right and kept shooting for goal but fortunately they were short on accuracy.
But Milanda always threatended on the break and equalised in the 16th minute following a good move that ended with Roddy Macdonald being fouled inside the box. Paul Murray took the penalty and added to his two spot-kick goals from the previous week with another perfect finish.The Parklife goal led a charmed life as their players tried to defend a Murray corner seven minutes later. Scott Preston was one of the Milanda men who had a chance to put the ball away but somehow it was scrambled clear.
Then the Parklife keeper had a good save to deny Macdonald after good work by strike partner Greig Harley. The home goal escaped again after good inter-play involving O’Neill and Neil Macdougall, one of the Parklife defenders slicing a clearance just off target.
Milanda were giving as good as they got and deserved to take the lead nine minutes before the break when the tireless Macdonald scored with a marvellous left-foot shot that beat the keeper and went in off his left-hand post. With O’Neill off receiving treatment for his back, Milanda’s 10 men had to fight hard to keep their lead until the half-time whistle.
O’Neill agreed to play up front in the second half but was clearly in discomfort and it looked like being a long 45 minutes for Milanda. This was confirmed when Parklife equalised in the 55th minute, the visiting defence looking suspect for the first time in the match as they allowed the delivery of a cross that could have been blocked.
But the wind was a big plus for Milanda, especially with keeper Reid’s huge clearances and Murray’s long throws putting pressure on the Parklife rearguard. It was from a long throw in the 63rd minute that Milanda regained the lead, one of the home defenders heading Murray’s delivery into his own net under pressure from skipper Kevin Grehan.
Parklife doubled their efforts to get back into the game but on the few occasions they managed to breach the Milanda back line, chances were passed up. It was a nervy finale until the 88th minute when Milanda made sure of the win. Colin McLaughlin picked up the ball just outside the box and fired in a magnificent volley that the keeper got both hands to but couldn’t stop finishing in the net.
So it was a delighted group of Milanda players who made the long walk back to the dressing rooms. A second successive win and another little glimmer of hope in the continuing fight to avoid the drop – and every single one of them had made a quality contribution.
MOM: Dave O’Neill. Bravery above and beyond the call of duty. He was meant just to stand around up front, forcing Parklife to mark him, but got involved whenever he could and ended up posing them some real problems.