Sunday, 26 April 2009

Clydebank 0 - 1 Pollok

2008/09 Citylink Scottish Junior Cup
Semi-Final, 2nd Leg
2.30pm kick-off
Saturday 25th April 2009
Millburn Park, Alexandria

Clydebank 0 -

Pollok 1 - McClay (12)

3-3 on aggregate, Clydebank won 4-1 on penalties.

Att: 1659

Clydebank will face Auchinleck Talbot in the Citylink Scottish Junior Cup final after securing a dramatic penalty shoot out win after the tie finished level over two legs.

The match was played at Millburn Park, Alexandria - the home of Vale of Leven - because Clydebank's usual home venue at Yoker's Holm Park was deemed unsuitable to host the large crowd that was expected.

This was a really poor quality match with little or no flowing football but you kind of expect that at Junior football anyway. Pollok opened the scoring after 12 minutes when Andy McClay hooked a loose ball into Stefan Gonet's bottom right hand corner.

The match finished 1-0 on the day and 3-3 on aggregate over the two legs. Away goals didn't count and instead of extra-time the match just went straight to penalties. Ex-Morton goalkeeper Gonet was the Bankies hero after a crucial save from a one-on-one in the 90th minute ensured the tie went to pens. He made two saves in the shootout one of which was an absolute belter to send the Bankies to the final at Rugby Park.

Other Morton connections included Derek Wingate (he played as a trialist against Ayr United in 2000/01) who played the full 90 minutes for Pollok. Shaun Dillon and Robbie MacKillop were both there with the 'Lok squad but weren't involved in the match squad.

My Pictures

Apr 25th 2009 at 14:30 Millburn Park Attendance: 1659
0 - 1
(4 - 1 PEN.)
Referee: Stevie O'Brien Scottish Junior Cup / Semi Final 2nd Leg-match

None. McClay (12)
Opening squads
Stefan Gonet
Gary Lynn
Martin McInnes
Gavin Rushford
Sinclair Soutar
Iain Anderson
John Jack
Brian Smith
Charlie Hobbs
Chris Mackie
Mark Hailstones
John Cunningham
Paul Allum
Steven Blair
Alan Jack
Ryan Scobie
Steven Blair -> Iain Anderson (67)
Paul Allum -> Brian Smith (80)
Alan Jack -> Mark Hailstones (89)
Down -> Miller (57)
McKay - Essler (75)
Yellow cards
Chris Mackie (50)
Carruth (23)
Dingwall (31)
Aitchison (78)
Red cards
None. None

My man of the match: Stefan Gonet (Clydebank)

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

 - match report - match report

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Scotland 2 - 1 Iceland

2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
8pm kick-off
Wednesday 1st April 2009
Hampden Park, Glasgow

Scotland 2 -
McCormack (39), S. Fletcher (65)
Iceland 1 - I. Sigurdsson (54)

Att: 42,259

This was a nail-biting match from which Scotland emerged with a crucial three points. However, the match will be remembered for the antics of Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor - who were both given life bans by the SFA for the 'v' signs (pictured, below) they gave to photographers.

Ross McCormack opened the scoring when he curled a superb right footed shot into the top corner after a tardemark surging run and lay-off by Alan Hutton (Scotland's best player if you ask me).

Lyn Oslo's Indridi Sigurdsson stunned Hampden 9 minutes after half-time when he placed the ball past Craig Gordon after Palmi Palmasson's stunning effort had crashed back off the post. I thought Stephen McManus gave Palmasson too much room to shoot and from what I've heard Gordon looked slightly slow in his efforts to get up for the rebound.

11 minutes later we were back in front when Hibs' Steven Fletcher flicked a close range header past Gunnleifer Gunnleifsson after a McCormack corner was flicked on by McManus.

We managed to hold on for the win despite a late onslaught from Iceland in which Gordon pulled off two oustanding saves - one with what appeared to be made with his face. The saves had the Scotland support singing his praises while at the same time leaving McGregor in no doubt that he wasn't Scotland number 1 on their eyes.

For me Ross McCormack, Alan Hutton and Craig Gordon were Scotland's stand out performers while Eidur Gudjohnsen showed flashes of his class for Iceland. You have to feel sorry for the Barcelona man as he is well above the rest of his team mates when it comes to ability, it must be a frustrating experience every time he pulls on his nation's jersey.

My Pictures

Scotland (4-4-2):

1. Gordon - 8
2. Hutton - 8
3. Naysmith - 6
4. McManus (c) - 7
5. Caldwell - 7
6. Morrison - 7 (16. Rae - 90 mins)
7. D. Fletcher - 7
8. Brown - 7
9. Miller - 5
10. S. Fletcher - 6 (13. Teale - 77 mins)
11. McCormack - 9

Subs Not Used:

12. McGregor
14. Berra
15. Ferguson
17. Clarkson
18. Whittaker

Hutton Caldwell McManus Naysmith
Morrison Brown D. Fletcher McCormack
Miller S. Fletcher

Iceland: Gunnleifsson, Danielsson, Kristjan Orn Sigurdsson, Indridi Sigurdsson (Bjornsson 80), Eiriksson, Steinsson, Aron Gunnarsson (Eggert Jonsson 70), Helguson, Palmason, Gudjohnsen, Smarason.

Subs Not Used: Arason, Gudmundsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Gunnarson, Bjarnason.

Booked: Smarason.

My man of the match: Ross McCormack

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket (click to enlarge) - match details

BBC match report

The Daily Record match report

The Scottish Sun match report

The Scottish Sun - Up Yours Scotland (02.04.2009)

The Scottish Sun - 7 Deadly Sinners (02.04.2009)

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Kilmarnock 1 - 1 Hibernian

2008/09 Scottish Premier League
3pm kick-off
Saturday 14th February 2009
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock 1 -
Hamill (76)
Hibs 1 - Riordan (45)

Att: 4649

This was a pretty entertaining 1-1 draw however, Hibs will feel a bit disappointed they didn't take the three points after taking the lead right on half time - and as far as I could see they had Mixu Paatelainen to blame.

This scrappy game was lit up by a moment of genius right on half-time. Derek Riordan flicked the ball over a Killie player's head and unleashed a stunning volley from 30 yards. The ball took a big deflection off of Manuel Pascali and flew past Alan Combe in the Killie goal.

By the time Killie equalised in the 76th minute it was obvious to anyone that Hibs needed to make changes. They had a proven goalscorer of international standing on the bench in Steven Fletcher but Paatelainen refused to make changes and was punished for his hesitancy. Hibs' Scotland under-21 internationalist left-back Paul Hanlon - who I didn't think much of - too long to clear and was dispossessed by Hamill who took a few steps before curling a beautiful left footed shot into Grzegorz Szamotulski's top right hand corner.

Rob Jones was a stand out in this one. The big defender was colossal and it was no coincidence that Killie came back into the match after he was subbed at half-time due to injury. Oppositely I wasn't very impressed with Hibs youngsters Hanlon and Darren McCormack while Killie's Connor Sammon was absolutely woeful and missed a few glorious opportunities - much to the consternation of the Killie fans around me.

My Pictures

Kilmarnock: 1. Combe, 15. Murray, 3. Hay, 4. Lilley, 6. Ford, 7. Bryson, 17. Gibson, 19. Skelton, 29. Pascali, 23. Hamill, 28. Sammon

Subs Not Used: 27. Rascle, 8. Locke, 12.Johnston, 22. Clancy, 25. Flannigan, 31. Anson, 33. Nolan.

Hibernian: 13. Szamotulski, 25.McCormack, 4. Hogg, 5. Jones (23. Chisholm - 46 mins), 20. Hanlon, 16. Stevenson, 26. Bamba, 32. Rosa, 18.Rankin, 10. Nish, 01. Riordan

Subs Not Used: 21. McNeil, 8. Yantorno, 9. Fletcher, 11. O'Brien, 14. Keenan, 31. Johansson .

Booked: Chisholm.

My man of the match: Rob Jones (Hibs)

Sponsor's man of the match: Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

BBC match report - match report

The Daily Record match report

The Scottish Sun match report

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Blackburn Rovers 0 - 2 Aston Villa

2008/09 English Premier League
3pm kick-off
Saturday 7th February 2009
Ewood Park, Blackburn

Blackburn 0 -

Aston Villa 2 - Milner (27), Agbonlahor (90)

Att: 24,267

This was my second trip to watch Aston Villa play Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. In the first game Villa won 4-0 and they made it two out of two after a fairly decent performance in which they soaked up Blackburn's attacks - most of which failed to produce decent efforts on goal - and attacked on the counter.

The first goal was a cracker. Gareth Barry caught Rovers out with a quick short corner to James Milner, who utilised the space the sleepy Blackburn defence had given him by curling a superb left footed shot round Paul Robinson into the far corner. For some reason Milner weasn't popular with a few fans sitting behind me who constantly chanted: "Fucking 'ell Milner, Fucking 'ell Milner, Fucking 'ell Milner". When he was celebrating his goal (pictured, below) they actually raised the decibels in a sort of ironic cover up of their embarrassment.

Another unpopular player was Gabby Agbonlahor. The pacy England striker comes to life when he's got the ball but is one of the most lazy players I've ever seen off the ball - something you don't really notice until you are at a match because, on T.V., the camera is always focused on the ball and not what's happening off it. There was a growing sense of frustration at his lackadaisical attitude and a few fans - including myself - were voicing their frustrations. However, Gabby had the last laugh when his deflected shot trickled into the net in injury time to secure the win and send the travelling Villa fans wild.

i've never been a fan of Emile Heskey but he was absolutely collossal in this one. He lead the line superbly and his link up play was exceptional - a big reason why he earned an England recall. However the most impressive feature of his game was his ability in the air. I've seen quite a few games and top players over the years but I have never seen a player so dominant in the air. Heskey leaps were Michael Jordan-esque (pictured, top left) and not only did he win every single header but he would actually get up so high above his opponents that he could twist and adjust his body in such a way that every header went exactly where he wanted it to; he wasn't just flicking them on. James Milner was also excellent and played a huge part in earning his side the three points by scoring the opening goal.

My Pictures

Aston Villa (4-4-2):

1. Friedel
24. Cuellar (26. Gardner - 46 mins)
2. L. Young
15. Davies
16. Knight
8. Milner
19. Petrov
6. Barry
7. A. Young
11. Agbonlahor
18. Heskey (10. Carew - 70 mins)

Subs Not Used: 22. Guzan, 4. Sidwell, 14. Delfouneso, 17. Salifou, 21. Shorey.

Cuellar Knight Davies L. Young
Milner Petrov Barry A. Young
Heskey Agbonlahor

Blackburn: 1. Robinson, 2. Ooijer, 4. Samba, 6. Nelsen, 3. Warnock, 12. Pedersen, 11. Grella, 17. Andrews (5. Tugay - 46), 8. Dunn (18. Diouf - 46), 10. McCarthy, 30. Roberts (9. Roque Santa Cruz - 74).

Subs Not Used: 38. Bunn, 13. Khizanishvili, 19. Villanueva, 21. Givet .

Booked: McCarthy, Tugay.

My man of the match: Emile Heskey (Villa)

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket (click to enlarge)

Heroes And Villans Fanzine [Feb 2009]

BBC match report - match report - match report

The Sun match report