City prepared for their Xmas dinner tonight – with a fighting performance against a youthful Stirling side.
City lined up with stalwart ginger keeper Murray in goals (who had forgotten his shorts and top – so played without them), Skipper Swinton at RB (with two black socks), Grandad to be McInally at Sweeper, moaner Edwards at CH, and steady Kenny Buttercase at left back.
The midfield was full of width – Alan Griffiths on his return from South Africa provided most of this on his own in Centre midfield, Youthful claw Green was asked to play the roving role beside him – with Colin Cunniffe being allowed a day off work playing on the right and skilful Ben Buttercase on the left. This left the prolific goalscoring duo of Graeme Fash and FFS Miller up front. The fittest man in the club Ben McAllister started on the bench.
Rintoul turned up to umpire – just on time.
The game started and it ebbed and flow from end to end with no real clear cut chances.
The Crab in the midfield Griffiths played some nice passes sideways – when he did manage to stay on his feet – but today he was more like a ballerina than a hockey players – so light on his feet he was all over the place.
Stirling were playing some nice attacking hockey – with the Full backs playing high up the field. It was Stirling who struck first – Rintoul awarded a controversial short corner – which the Stirling striker hit hard towards the near post – an attacker stuck in his stick and rifled the ball past Murray – who eventually dived when the ball got back to the centre circle.
Young Ben Buttercase was looking most threatening for City – he roved into the D and had a shot at goal stopped by Miller but the defence then cleared there lines.
Green stepped up the pace a bit as him and Griffiths took control of the midfield. Some good link up plays saw Green play the ball to Miller who first timed it to Griffiths – who in turn played in Fash – who first timed it past the keeper – but agonisingly passed the post in what was one of the best plays of the game.
City eventually got the goal back there play merited. Edwards found himself up in nosebleed territory after saying to Mike that he was bored at the back so was going for a wander. Griffiths, Fash and Edwards all had slashes at the ball in a game of ping pong in the Stirling D before Fash unselfishly played the ball to the Big Man who unleashed a trickle into the goals. 1.1 – and oh how the big man Edwards celebrated with his overhead flip.
City then made it two one – when a short corner routine saw the ball played back to Green who thought about hitting the ball home – but then realised that wasn’t his style so he pushed it home.
Half time and City were 2.1 up. Mike decided Adam was having a very “potatoesk” game umpiring so told Adam to get stripped so we could get a proper umpire for the secong half. Mike looked around to find one – saw Athol and thought – he best do it himself.
Second half was much the same as the first. Both teams attacked in numbers.
Edwards was unlucky when he saw his shot rebound wide of the post.
Fash was finding himself in some great positions but just was struggling to add the finishing touch.
Big Ben was having a fearless game on the left wing – playing some hit and runs that Linford Christie would be proud to get on the end of while Little Ben was dribbling past man after man on the right.
The defence were looking solid with Rintoul now slotting into the huge hole left by McInally – and Kenny Buttercase was using all his experience cutting out Stirling attacks.
Stirling did threaten to come back into the game – but the best chance fell to Fash at the back post. If he had only chalked his stick he may have slipped the ball home rather than back to where it came from in a wierd hit/push/whatever it was….
Miller added the third when Griffiths the crab lost his bearings and piroeted and played the ball forward by mistake. The keeper charged out – Miller cooly took the ball round him and slotted it past the defender on the line. (Note It was actually Colin Cunniffe who played the ball forward – I must have had a moment when I thought Griff played it forward)
Umpire Mike then taught us all a new rule – its ok for the defenders to kick the ball in the D – long corners were awarded as opposed to shorts. (Big Al says so apparently)
The final whistle blew when City won another short corner. Griffiths was pushed off the short corners by the Big Man Edwards – as we hadnt converted the previous ten. Edwards stopped it – thought about shooting – took a touch – thought about shooting – then with Rintoul to his right he just laid it off to him – and Adam flicked it cooly past the helpless young keeper.
4.1 was the final score – but possibly not a fair reflection on what was quite an even game.
It was good to see some of the City youngsters playing along with some of the more senior players – and its great to see how well they have come on in such a short period of time. A lot of credit for this must go to coach Green – as well as the other seniors players playing alongside them in the twos week in week out.
A great workout – and a great way for City to finish the year on a high….
Other points to note:-
Cunniffe was possibly today’s MOM – being involved in a lot of the attacking play.
Fash could have had a hat trick - but dont worry it will come
Griffiths was dominating in the Centre of Midfield and it was good to have him back – providing not only a physical presence but with his and Greens ability to pick defence splitting passes we always seemed to be threatening.
Edwards could also have had a hat trick - and I think the new call should be FFS Edwards- But Young Edwards insisted after the game that his performance in this game sends out a message to 1s skipper with a goal from defence and a powerhouse performance from a slimline Mr E.
On to tonight – and Griffiths/Edwards/McInally have a challenge to see who can eat the most Pies (Mincemeat)