On a wet and windy night only five players braved the conditions to play. Four cup matches were played.
First up was a preliminary round match in the Handicap Cup. Dave Gladman started a goal to the good against Dave Butler. Gladman’s strategy was clear from the start – keep possession. In the first half he did this pretty well, limiting Butler to one really good opportunity. Butler had much more of the ball in the second period and probably feels that he should have taken one of the two or three excellent chances he had. The Gladman goal survived, however, and he progresses to the next round where he will start his match against Brian Spoors with a four-goal deficit.
All the other matches were in the Glasgow Cup. Ryan McPhail played his first matches in Group A, against Dave Gladman and Baver Bari, players expected to finish in the top two places in the group. In the first match he demonstrated the improvement he has made in defensive skills losing only 1-0 to Baver Bari. In the second he proved that he knew something about attacking as well, taking a shock 2-0 half-time lead over Dave Gladman. Gladman is undefeated in league and cup this season and he was fresh from his Handicap Cup victory over Dave Butler. That record remains intact, however, as he scored two second half goals to secure a point which ensures that he finishes top of the group. McPhail, on the other hand, is starting to compete well and can be pleased with how his play is progressing.
In Group B Dave Butler had a comfortable 3-0 win over Colin Berry. Butler scored in his first attack . Berry was never allowed to settle, his defence put under long periods of pressure for much of the game. After losing a goal so early he did well to resist the repeated waves of attack and limit Butler to two further goals. Butler moves to the top of Group B, ahead of Tom Burns on goal difference.
Glasgow Cup results and tables can be viewed here.
The first club night of 2020 saw four league games take place and also the welcome return of former club member, Andy Shearer (pictured below) on holiday from New Zealand. The league games saw Baver Baver try to gain revenge over Colin Berry for his previous last second defeat in their previous fixture. After an exciting end-to-end affair, it finished 1-1, with both goals coming in the first half. Either player could have won but some good Berry goalkeeping kept Bari from finding the winner.
Tom Burns then extended his pole position in the league with a win over Brian Spoors. Three goals in the first half ended any chance of an upset. The first alternative old firm derby for a few years between arch rivals Colin Berry and Ronnie McKenzie produced the major talking points of the night. The game started off at a frantic pace with Berry making his intentions clear by hitting both crossbar and post in the first ten minutes. Indeed it was Berry who landed the first blow with a well taken goal midway through the first half. Although Berry dominated the first half, it was McKenzie who took control of the second. With five minutes to go Berry failed to take a chance to make it 2-0. This was to prove costly as McKenzie scored with the last touch of the game. A speculative long shot took an eternity to find the back of the net. Even although the ball crossed the line well after the final whistle had gone, crucially, McKenzie had flicked before the buzzer had sounded. The players had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Berry has improved significantly this year and and is now just one point short of last season’s total.
The final game of the evening saw Burns and McKenzie play out a ding dong match with chances galore. It was McKenzie who got karma, losing a goal in the last thirty seconds to go down 1-0. His fine play, however, will surely produce more positive results as the season progresses.
Only 3 matches played tonight and all were in the Glasgow Cup. In Group A Tom Burns looks likely to finish top after a 3-1 win over Dave Gladman. Burns took the lead in the first half only for Gladman to equalise just before the break. Burns got back in front in the second period and as Gladman committed players forward Burns sealed the victory with a third. Gladman is favourite to finish second but his final match is against Dave Houston who has proved a difficult opponent for Gladman in recent games.
The other 2 matches were both in Group B and both involved Malcolm Lees. Lees made a strong start to the season in the SPSL but has struggled to find his form in more recent matches and so it proved tonight. He suffered two 2-1 defeats against first, Willie Fleming and then John Halpin. Both opponents were well worthy of their victories and for John Halpin it was his second win over Lees in a row. All three players are likely to progress from the group but the final order is unlikely to be what would have been predicted.
In the aftermath of the latest event in Scotland, and aftermath is probably the best word to describe it, I would like to thank all the players who took the time and effort to attend and helped make a successful event. There were very few complaints and the lack of excessive shouting would back up claims that most games were played in a very sporting manner. This also may have been attributable to the fact that the calibre of players fell into two very different groups. But overall I was very pleased with the behaviour of all present (although I have no knowledge of what went on in the hotel, your honour). My main concern was the people who came to enjoy themselves as opposed to those who only came to win or collect ranking points. So on that score I think we did ok. I think a special mention is due to both Yorkshire Phoenix and Netfa Teeside for travelling in very good numbers and getting involved in the spirit of things, SPIRIT being the operative word here. Although, to be fair, Yorkshire did enter into it more than most, just gutted I couldn’t join you. I would also like to thank the rest of the GTSA guys for their assistance with a special mention to Dave Gladman who was an absolute star in dealing with the majority of the admin work and having the results on our website almost as soon as the event was finished. I wish next year’s host every success with the event.