Stephen Kennedy on behalf of www.thejuniors.info
Wednesday, 18th of April 2012
This was a match that St. Roch’s dominated, having the majority of the possession, numerous chances to win the match, wanted to taste victory but were hit by the sucker punch in injury time.
A despondent Candy Manager Davie Grieg said “This has happened to us all season. We play great football but just don’t have the luck in front of goal.”
For the first 15 minutes or so, this match was a battle for supremacy in midfield, with neither keeper having much to do. Both sides competing equally and refusing to give any quarter. The first shot on target didn’t come until the 15th minute and that was a long range effort from St. Rochs’ Mark Cassidy, which keeper Fraser Wilson dealt with easily.
Chris Wozencroft had a glorious chance to put the burgh in the lead, when he swung first time at a cross from the right. Had the big defender connected, I am sure he would have burst the net but his attempted volley was miss hit, and the ball trickled into the keeper’s arms.
Burgh came forward again courtesy of a Chris Loughlin free-kick from the touch line just inside the opposition’s half. Martin McIntyre’s header was off target however.
The Rock’s Greg Harvey, delivered a sweet cross into the six-yard area for Ross Mackie to head down. The striker did everything right under tight circumstances, but Wilson was equal to his effort, saving on the line.
This was followed by a long ball over the top for Cassidy to chase on the right. As he entered the box, his powerful drive was saved by Wilson at the expense of a corner. From the corner, Terry Hewitt headed low, which was cleared off the line and back into the keeper’s arms.
The visitor’s claim for a penalty as Michael Williams sleeve was tugged in the box was turned away by the man in the middle.
At the other end, Burgh’s McIntyre and Perrie, fought to find the touch that would send the ball home from a yard or so out, with both ending up on the ground alongside keeper Ryan Dakhil before the ball was booted clear.
Andrew Sinclair burst through on the left smashing a shot from 20 yards, which Wilson saved brilliantly. Sinclair’s second attempt from the rebound sailed over the bar.
Chaos in the box as we approached half-time. From another corner the ball was headed onto the Burgh bar before Wilson saved from a Sinclair effort with the result being a corner once more. This time the keeper missed the ball as it came over, Mark Ritchie’s shot from the back of the box was again, cleared off the line.
Half-Time 0 – 0
Davie Grieg’s half-time talk must have been a good one, for his side were inspired when they returned for the second period.
A long ball, released Mackie, who left his marker in his wake, dashing through on goal right of centre. As he entered the box the advancing Wilson did enough to put the big striker off, for his shot was hit high over the bar. Mackie head in hands, couldn’t believe his luck.
St. Roch’s Harvey was presented with the ball on the left of the box from a poor defensive header. His cross landed at the feet of Mackie, who despite his height, turned gracefully to smack a low shot from ten yards. Wilson again was there to save.
Mackie was replace minutes later, which was a surprise, for he was the one who looked most likely to break the deadlock.
Burgh’s Grant Kelly almost shocked St. Roch’s with a looping shot from 19 yards, which was dipping dangerously close to the bar; missing by inches.
From a corner on the left swung in by Davie Galt, keeper Wilson punched well clear. Hewitt’s pile-driver from 25 yards was charged down and Harvey’s effort whizzed by the left post.
The Candy did have the ball in the net as a result of a long free-kick to the back post for Ritchie to head back across the face of goal and into the net. The referee spotted an infringement of some kind, and the goal was chopped off.
Four consecutive headers in midfield, saw Galt away on the left. His cross was perfect but before Paul McDougall could dispatch the ball into the net, the whistle blew for offside.
Craig Munro, with some nice footwork, slipped by his marker as he entered the Burgh half, wide on the right. His sublime cross into the box, where three green shirts waited was a piece of magic. McDougall’s header was perfection and looked like the breakthrough has finally arrived but Wilson produced a stunning save to ensure the scores remained 0 – 0.
Galt delivered a ball across the face of goal, with such pace that the keeper was taken out of the equation but none of the two attackers could get that vital touch to send the ball home.
Johnstone made a rare excursion into the top half of the field but St. Roch’s gave them no time on the ball forcing Loughlin into an early shot from 22 yards. His attempted curling shot was wildly off target.
Craig Munro went on a long run from deep in his own half, passing unchallenged by the home side. His long range effort was hit straight at keeper Wilson. Were the visitor’s showing signs of frustration?
After yet another awesome save from a shot by Sinclair, Wilson dispatched the ball up field. A corner was awarded which brought protests galore from the visitors, claiming the ball was put out of play by a Johnstone player.
The corner came in, finding it’s way to the rear of the box. A shot from the left for Burgh, appeared to be going out of play but the red shirts played on. Kelly retrieved the ball, shooting from the back of the box, where Wozencroft appeared to knock the ball beyond the helpless Dakhil to open the scoring two or three minutes into injury time. There were again protests that the ball had already gone out of play before Kelly sent it back in but it was difficult to call from where I was positioned.
The jubilant Johnstone players celebrated like they had won the league with that goal but having been under the cosh for so long and to win the match with the last kick of the ball, must have been a euphoric sensation.
There would be no way back for the visitors for the final whistle blew almost immediately after the centre.
Was it deserved? There is no doubt that St. Roch’s were by far the better team but the object of the game is putting the ball in the net and they failed to do so. Burgh took one of their few chances over the piece, and that solitary goal gives them the points and the history books will show Johnstone won this match 1 – 0.
Man of the Match: Goalkeeper Fraser Wilson, whom without, Burgh would have lost by a barrow-load. A brilliant performance by the number one.
Burgh: Wilson, McGarrigle, Chalmers, Ross, Wozencroft, Loughlin, Perrie, McIntrye, Rose, Smith, Kelly Subs: Lennon, Fitzpatrick, Yule, K. McGlinchey, J. McGlinchey, Dinnen, Brolly
Roch’s: Daghil, Gumley, Sinclair, Amos, Ritchie, Hewitt, Williams, Munro, Mackie, Harvey, Cassidy Subs: McDougall, Begg, Galt, McGhee, Howe, Mangan, Wood