The 2s ended October with 2 come-from-behind victories. In Wednesday’s BUCS game they manufactured their poorest 45 minutes of the season so far and trailed 2-0 at half time against an energetic Robert Gordon’s 2s side. Their ball retention was poor and passes forced that were not good options. The half time team talk certainly did not lack animation! The result was immediately apparent and using the centre backs to play out of defence, the 2s got a grip of the ball and started to dictate the second half tempo. 10 minutes into the half, Bertie Collins showed what a goal threat he is as he reduced the deficit making himself space in the box before passing the ball home low to the goalkeepers left. Shortly afterwards, Phil McNicholas, who has shown some terrific form this season, turned intelligently on the halfway line and played Bertie in against the RG left back. Bertie’s pace was always going to be crucial as he skipped past the defender then rounded the goalkeeper before passing the ball into the empty net. Dan Burchill then showed what a composed player he can be by drawing in defenders as he put his foot on the ball in the RG penalty area. His ensuing deflected shot found its way to the improving Andy Findlay who finished neatly on his left foot, 3-2 to the home side. Bertie ended the scoring, once again running the right channel. His shot was straight at but too pacey for the visitors GK; 4-2 final score. Another couple of downsides with injuries to both Calum Watt and Jamie Jackson reducing the home side to 9 men with 6 minutes to go. The visitors had previously been reduced to 10 after an extremely harsh sending off.
The Scottish cup, is always eagerly anticipated and Saturdays 3rd round tie saw the 2s travel to Carluke to play the Baptists, a side who made last season 1/4 finals. The new venue was a terrific artificial surface perfect for passing football. Pity it is built on top of an exposed hill, prey to a prevailing westerly wind. That in conjunction with soft, spongy, bouncy Nike match balls meant it was difficult for either side to find any fluency in the first half, it’s all in the detail.
With the wind at their back in the second half the 2s might have expected to push home the advantage. However it was the home side who took the lead with 25 minutes to go. A long ball deceiving Jan Seiler in goal and although the striker won the foot race his touch took the ball wide. Unfortunately for the Uni his cut back was bundled over the line by a retreating defender, own goal. This bunch of 2s players have a real belief about them and with substitutes Harald Buchardt on for Ciaran Duffy, Andy Thompson on for Paul McLaughlin and Jamie Cox on for Lewis Scott, they started to create some goal scoring chances. The equaliser when it came was worth the entrance money. Rory Morris split the midfield line with a pass to his midfield buddy Dave Braithwaite. Using the space in “the hole” Dave steadied himself before finding Phil McNicholas on the shoulder of the left centre back. Phil’s touch inside opened up the space for a very composed passed finish with his ever-improving left foot. Jamie Cox was now proving a real threat on the right and 10 minutes later it was one of his infield runs which resulted in free kick and deserved booking for a home player. From Andy Thompson’s flighted delivery, Dave Braithwaite rose like a tin of salmon at the back post to head home the winner. There was no one more surprised than him, he had never scored before with his head. Between the goals chances were created at both ends with the Baptists being a little unfortunate when a looping effort came back into play off the crossbar. All in all, a decent days work. It is still felt however that there is better to come from this 2s side but 8 wins and a draw form the first 11 games of the season is a very creditable effort. MOM from Saturday, Jack Simmons: always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.