Glasgow Islay 1 AC Milanda 3.
Scorers - Preston, MacDougall, Kell
Team - Mitchell, MacDougall, Evans (Reid), Preston, Thomson, O’Neill, Macdonald, Murray, Kelly, McLaughlin, Johnstone. Subs not used: Binnie, Daly, Di Folco.
MILANDA made it three wins on the trot in dramatic fashion to stay in with a slight chance of beating the drop. A goal ahead with just four minutes left on the clock, they conceded an equaliser which meant Islay looked odds on to gain a deserved point. However, the Milanda players refused to accept that and somehow scored twice in the dying minutes to chalk up an incredible success. The fighting spirit the players are showing now was rarely seen in the early part of the season and it makes you think we could have been safe by now had we battled a little harder for points in some of the closer games. Still, we are where we are and that’s considerably better off than we were a month ago. There’s life in the old dogs yet and survival is achievable.
Milanda at least had options for this fixture after having beaten Parklife with 11 men and no regognised keeper in their previous outing. But the game plan was upset early on when Gerry Evans suffered a knee injury, which meant Mark Reid going on to play in a reshuffled defence. He took the left-back role with Andy Thomson moving to central defence alongside Scott Preston.
With a strong wind at their backs, Milanda did most of the pressing in the first half without ever looking a huge threat to the Islay goal. Roddy Macdonald and Martin Johnstone hits shots off target but the home side looked fairly comfortable. Islay also caused problems on the break and it took a foul by Thomson, which earned him a booking, to stop a potentially damaging attack. Fortunately, he wasn’t the last man but it was close.
Finally, five minutes from half-time, Milanda made the breakthrough. Mark Reid sent over a corner from the left and Preston made sure he got to it first to stab the ball home.
Shortly after that, Colin Kelly had a shot saved.
Milanda braced themselves for a second-half onslaught but the defenders and midfielders worked hard to get in tackles and blocks at vital times. When Islay did get behind them, as in the 62nd minute, Ross Mitchell came to the rescue with a fantastic save. Johnstone and Kelly worked hard up front to relieve the pressure and from time to time half-chances were created.
Kelly had one in the 68th minute but Islay keeper Andy Campbell pulled off a fine save.
Islay hit a post with 10 minutes to go but it looked as if Milanda would hold on for a 1-0 win until the 86th minute when the home side finally got the ball in the net after a raid down the left.
It was a real sickener but Milanda didn’t let it get to them. They simply went straight up the park and regained the lead. Right-back Neil MacDougall took a pass from Kelly and burst into the box and hit a superb shot that Campbell got a hand to but couldn’t stop from ending up in the net. And a minute after that, the ever dangerous Kelly bullied one of the Islay defenders out of possession and fired in No.3.
Another tremendous morning’s work by Milanda and the only downer was the fact midfielder Colin McLaughlin suffered a broken toe and may not be able to play again this season.
MOM: Once again there wasn’t a failure in the Milanda side. The defenders did their jobs, the midfielders worked non stop and attackers Johnstone and Kelly gave Islay problems throughout. But this week’s award goes to Ross Mitchell. The keeper made some excellent saves to keep us ahead for most of the second half and had no chance with their goal. His kicking was excellent also against a stiff wind and helped the team get up the park.