City headed over to Tipperlin to face Watsonians 3rd XI on Saturday in what was to be one of City’s sternest tests in the season to date.
City were again a much changed line up from the week before – out went Burns, Elliot Sutton, Edwards, Byron and Rintoul and in replacement Maxl, Melrose, Graham and Palmer stood in.
Neil “Ruddock” Fleming underwent an early morning fitness test to clear himself fit for the game after awaking to intense back pain.
City lined up with Tanton in goal, Campbell, Fleming, Maxl and Fraser Graham in defence – a midfield of Palmer, Green (Jnr), Innes and Melrose – leaving the strike duo of Miller and Skipper Walker.
City were slow out the blocks this week – finding hard work battling into the sun – with the opposition wearing their normal purple strips – with the low sun it was hard to pick the difference between this and the City black. The City defence were pressured early on – but were well marshalled by Fleming and Maxl.
City should however have taken the lead when Miller was sent through on the Keeper but didn’t look up and blasted the ball well wide the keeper stranded. Luckily City didn’t live to rue this missed chance as Green sent Miller through again on the keeper with a lucky deflection of a Watsonians stick. Miller this time pushed the ball past the keeper into the bottom corner. City, were now growing in confidence and looked to add to their lead.
However a lifted hit forward by a Watsonians midfielder stuck Innes high on his already injured calf – and Innes was down on the ground writhing in agony. The game was stopped for around 5 minutes while Innes tried to walk off the injury. With City having no subs, Innes despite not being able to run of the injury, in true heroic fashion opted to fight on up front.
This meant a rejig was required to the City midfield. Andy Melrose took Innes’s place in the Centre of midfield – while Miller replaced Melrose at Left Midfield.
City continued to win most of the midfield battles as Melrose slotted in well in the middle of the park – and it wasn’t long before City went 2 up. Injured Innes, setting up Walker with a close range finish past the keeper. Walker then turned provider as Innes managed to pounce on the ball to push it homeward from a yard out.
City went into half time with a comfortable 3 nil lead. Sometimes it was like City were playing with ten men and a half men as Innes tried to soldier on up front – but his lack of ability to run was meaning he had to camp high in the Watsonians D. When they ball did reach him he did a sterling job of holding it up and laying it off – as well as providing a tidy close range finish.
City started off the second half in attacking fashion and it wasn’t long before City scored again to go 4 nil up. Green finishing well from inside the D.
And then there were five as Miller slotted home a loose ball in the D.
Mid way through the second half the City legs were tiring. Watsonians were making full use of their substitutes while City tried to play with the ten men and Innes marking the Watsonians keeper. City then found themselves down another man when Campbell was carded for his discussions with the Umpire.
Watsonians put City under a lot of pressure trying to get goals back but Fleming and Maxl and were resolute in the centre of the defence. Campbell came back on after his two minute breather – but Watsonians still pressed.
Tanton had a couple of scares in goals – but managed to keep a clean sheet.
City’s second team turned up to watch the closing stages of the match – with Kenny Buttercase stripping off to replace hop along Innes who worked his heart out in the opposition D. Buttercase provided some fresh legs in closing down the opposition.
City then broke away on a counter attack – Walker got into a great position and Miller charged into the D from Midfield to give Walker an option – Walker squared it in Miller took a touch before he completed his hat trick past the helpless Watsonians keeper.
City fought to the end to keep their clean sheet – and the game finally finished with City winning 6 goals to nil.
This was a great fighting performance from City. This was the most the City defence has had to cope with this season to date and Campbell, Fleming, Maxl and Graham were like a wall to get through. The midfield missed Innes’s surging runs – but Melrose provided a great pivot in the middle – working well with Ryan Green – allowing Green to make the runs.
Walker up front ran his heart out in his lone furrow – while Innes performed heroically for a man on one leg – nothing a few bombs couldn’t sort out later though.
Despite the convincing scoreline Watsonians were always pushing forward – and if it weren’t for an inspired defensive display could count themselves unlucky not to get on the score sheet.
A break from league action next week for the ones as City head north to play Inverurie in the District Cup next Sunday.
Final Score Watsonians 0 City 6
(Walker,Innes,Green & Miller x3)