Club night 19/6/17

Two of the club’s three cup competitions were completed tonight. In the remaining semi-final of the Woodend Handicap Cup Ronnie McKenzie faced Dave Gladman, neither player starting with an advantage. With only seconds of the first half remaining Gladman carelessly lost possession when not standing behind his goal. With no hesitation McKenzie blasted the ball into the open goal from an acute angle. Throughout the game Gladman had enough chances to win the game but his efforts were not good enough until a player from distance was able to hit home from around the edge of the box. There was no further scoring, nor was there during extra-time and so the match went to shots. Gladman had been successful in his three previous shoot-outs but not tonight as he failed to score a single goal. Two goals for McKenzie took him into the final and a match up with John Halpin.

McKenzie had little time to plan tactics for the final as he went straight from semi-final to final. Halpin was the cup holder and indeed this was his third final in a row, having lost to Baver Bari two years ago. Halpin has a great affinity to this competition and with neither player starting with an advantage he was the more comfortable player from the start. A goal in each half was enough to retain the cup. Congratulations to Halpin who started with a lower handicap than last season but was still able to win. Perhaps this second victory should result in his next year’s handicap being reduced even further. McKenzie has had a good season with a strong performance in the league but he will be disappointed in missing this opportunity to win his first GTSA competition.

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The Glasgow Cup ranks just behind the Association Cup in prestige but Tom Burns took both trophies last season. Dave Gladman was last in the Glasgow Cup final in 2009 when he lost out to Andrea Andreoni. Both Burns and Gladman had contested the Association Cup final two years ago in a rather one-sided affair which Burns won 4-1. Tonight’s final was much closer and was only decided with about two minutes remaining when Burns scored the first of his two goals. This was an acute angled lob off a defender into the far corner of the net. Gladman’s usual tactic against Burns is to play methodically and hold possession to frustrate his opponent. There wasn’t much evidence of that tonight and Gladman’s more open play often ended prematurely with loss of possession. As a result Burns had a greater share of possession and more efforts on goal but was frustrated this time by the Gladman keeper and some wayward shooting. Gladman did have the chances to win this match, twice hitting the post in the first half and further close attempts in the second. He will be disappointed too that he failed to capitalise on promising positions against an open Burns’ defence. Burns’ second goal came in the dying seconds when he broke from defence to cut through the thin Gladman back-line. Congratulations therefore go to Burns who retains the trophy and now has the possibility of the treble by adding the Association Cup. First he must beat the other cup holder, John Halpin, in the semi-final.

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Malcolm Lees and Dave Houston had to face each other twice, first in the Association Cup and then in the league. The cup match was a first round relpay. Both matches ended with the same scoreline, 1-0 to Lees. Houston matched up well in these matches and made Lees work hard for the results. But Houston’s failing all season has been lack of goals and that was repeated tonight. Lees finishes three points behind Burns in the league and will face Fraser McKenzie in the next round of the cup.

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Permission was given to Fraser McKenzie and Colin Berry to play their outsatanding league match at home. It was a hard fought match with neither player securing any real clear-cut chances. Young McKenzie (posting a note of intention for next season) did have the ball in the net right on the bell at half-time but the referee disallowed it as a late goal.

League

Lees 1 0 Houston
Berry 0 0 F McKenzie

 

Woodend Handicap Cup

Semi-final

Gladman 1 1 R McKenzie

R McKenzie wins 2-0 on shots

Final

Halpin 2 0 R McKenzie

 

Association Cup first round replay

Lees 1 0 Houston

 

Glasgow Cup Final

Burns 2 0 Gladman

 

 

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Club night 12/6/17

The league title has been decided but players are keen to finish their matches and increase their points total. Indeed this was one of the best attended nights of the season with eleven members present. There is still a battle for third place with Willie Fleming and Ronnie McKenzie the main contenders. It was as you were for both players tonight as each fought out a draw. Willie Fleming dropped points to Dave Gladman in a match that Fleming will feel he ought to have won. After a goal-less first half Gladman took the lead, a little against the run of play. There was no denying, however, that it was a fine finish. Fleming equalised when Gladman lost possession and then won a free-kick right on the shooting line. He took too long in setting up a shot and the whistle went before he was able to shoot and score. In any case it was his fourth flick. Ronnie McKenzie meanwhile was only able to draw with Dave Houston. This was Houston’s fifth 0-0 draw and his tenth draw overall.

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Colin Berry added four points to his total by defeating Fraser McKenzie 2-0 and then drawing with Dave Houston. No goals were scored in a match of few opportunities.

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Third place will be decided when Willie Fleming and Ronnie McKenzie meet in their final league match but tonight we had a rehearsal when the two players met in the quarter-final of the Handicap Cup. McKenzie started the match with a one-goal advantage and with each player scoring once that advantage was to take McKenzie into the semi-final. There he will play Dave Gladman.

In the other remaining Handicap Cup quarter-final Fraser McKenzie took on Dave Houston with no handicap for either player. Houston had a lot of possession and attack but he couldn’t convert it into goals. McKenzie was much more clinical and ran out 3-0 winner. It was straight into the semi-final for McKenzie against John Halpin who began one goal behind. Halpin is the cup holder and he is determined not to give up that crown. He did what was necessary and scored the two goals which put him in the final once again.

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In the Association Cup Malcolm Lees and Dave Houston will have to do it all again after both players failed to find the net in another 0-0 draw involving Houston.

 

League

Berry 2 0 F McKenzie
R McKenzie 0 0 Houston
Gladman 1 1 Fleming
Houston 0 0 Berry

 

Woodend Handicap Cup Quarter-finals

R McKenzie 2 1 Fleming
F McKenzie 3 0 Houston

Woodend Handicap Cup Semi-final

Halpin 2 1 F McKenzie

 

Association Cup

Lees 0 0 Houston

 

 

 

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Club night 29/5/17

Tom Burns has won back the league title from Malcolm Lees. It took him until his last league match to achieve it. He knew that a draw against Barry Corr would be sufficient but a defeat would leave the door open for Lees. Twice Corr took the lead in this match but Burns was determined to deliver the title and twice he levelled. A third goal meant that he finished his campaign on a winning note. The League Championship title is now back in Burns’ hands two years after just edging out Dave Butler. The crucial difference was the second head to head encounter between the two rivals when Burns was the victor. Burns’ goal difference was marginally better but all else was equal. Both players had three draws and both lost to Dave Gladman. It was an exciting campaign which went right to almost the last match. Congratulations to Burns!

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Elsewhere in the league Fraser McKenzie picked up 5 points with a surprise 1-0 win John Halpin and 2 draws, one against Ronnie McKenzie and the other against John Mathieson. Ronnie McKenzie’s draw was a blow to his hopes of finishing third but a key game will be his remaining encounter with Willie Fleming. Colin Berry edged out John Mathieson. With three very winnable games to go Berry hopes for a strong finish to his campaign.

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In the Association Cup two players reached the semi-finals. Tom Burns overcame Baver Bari and John Halpin put out Colin Berry. Bari opened the scoring against Burns and performed well but Burns scored his goals at crucial times and deserved to advance.

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Willie Fleming and Dave Gladman played out their Glasgow Cup semi-final replay. The first half was goal-less with Gladman having more of the chances but it was mid-way into the second half when Gladman took the lead. He was not able to hold that lead and when, two minutes from the end, he carelessly lost possession in his own half Fleming pounced and levelled the match. The game entered extra-time with the possibility of a golden goal. Fleming had the better of this period but he couldn’t find the net. He couldn’t find the net either when they went to shots to decide the match. Gladman scored twice and earned a place in the final against Tom Burns.

League

Burns 3 2 Corr
F McKenzie 1 0 Halpin
Mathieson 0 1 Berry
R McKenzie 3 3 F McKenzie
F McKenzie 1 1 Mathieson

 

Association Cup

Bari 1 3 Burns
Berry 1 2 Halpin

 

Glasgow Cup

Gladman 1 1 Fleming

Gladman wins 2-0 on shots

 

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Club night 1/5/17

With a lot at stake, the top of the league clash between Tom Burns and Malcolm Lees was a slightly nervous display. A few uncharacteristic mistakes were in evidence but as the game settled down both players started to create a few chances. The Lees keeper had to produce a couple of saves and Burns had to scoop the ball off his own goal-line. Eventually, just before halftime the deadlock was broken when Burns scored with a deflected shot. Only one minute into the second half Lees was level, again with a deflected goal. But another minute later Burns restored his lead, for the third time a deflected goal. That was the end of the scoring. Burns is now very strong favourite to take the title. He has one game remaining, albeit a difficult one agaainst Barry Corr. A draw will suffice. Lees must hope Burns loses to Corr whilst he wins his remaining two matches with a combined margin of 6 goals.

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John Mathieson and Ronnie McKenzie played their first round Association Cup match. Mathieson had a fair amount of possession in this game but much of it in his own half. It was McKenzie, however, who created the chances and converted three of them. Mathieson is still lacking experience but he has become much more competitive during the course of the season. He will hope that that progression continues next season.

League

Burns 2 1 Lees

 

Association Cup

Mathieson 0 3 R McKenzie

 

 

 

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Club night 24/4/17

Malcolm Lees’ hopes of retaining his league title were dealt a blow tonight when he lost 1-0 to Dave Gladman. Lees now trails Tom Burns by 3 points but with a game in hand. With Burns’ superior goal difference it looks likely that Lees will have to defeat Burns in their final match to secure the title. But Burns also faces a difficult match against Barry Corr in his other remaining match whilst Lees could reduce the goal difference in his matches against Dave Houston and Fraser McKenzie.

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Tonight, however, was Lees’ first league defeat in the forty matches he has played since joining the Glasgow club. He gave away possession too easily at times and tended to rush his play when a more considered approach might have been more productive. Nevertheless in the course of the match Gladman had to produce three excellent saves to keep Lees out. Gladman too, had chances but it was right at the end that the deadlock was broken. Gladman had a shot from a wide angle. The keeper saved but unfortunately for Lees the ball rebounded on to a Gladman player at the edge of the penalty box. He took a touch then chipped the ball over the keeper.

In this league campaign Burns and Lees have each lost only one match. Gladman has inflicted both those defeats. Lees has yet to beat Gladman in a league match. Yet Gladman is 21 points off the top of the league.

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Ronnie McKenzie has been in a great run of form which has taken him to third place in the league. After tonight he still retains third place but he was well beaten by a fine display by John Halpin. This is Halpin’s fourth league campaign and this has proved to be a breakthrough season. He has notched up eight wins where his previous best had been three. Could he go a step further next season and challenge at the top? McKenzie has had a good season also and has developed an excellent possession game. He is still a good bet to finish third which would be way better than his previous best of sixth.

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It was a fully focussed Baver Bari who took on Dave Gladman in the first round of the Association Cup and it resulted in a deserved passage to the next round for the Motherwell man. Bari had taken the lead in the first half only for this to be cancelled out by a second half Gladman strike. A replay seemed to be on the cards but with two minutes remaining Bari forced his way through the centre of the Gladman defence to hit the the ball beyond the despairing keeper.

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League

Gladman 1 0 Lees
Halpin 3 0 R McKenzie

 

Association Cup

Bari 2 1 Gladman

 

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Association Cup Draw

The draw was made for the 2017 Association Cup.

Baver Bari v Dave Gladman
Malcolm Lees v Dave Houston
Barry Corr v Tom Burns
Ronnie McKenzie v John Mathieson

 

Byes: Willie Fleming, John Halpin, Colin Berry, Fraser McKenzie

 

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Last season’s winner, Tom Burns is presented with his trophy.

 

 

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Club night 3/4/17

Malcolm Lees used up one of his games in hand over Tom Burns and moved three points closer to the top. Lees’ goal difference improved considerably with two wins including a 7-0 thumping of Colin Berry. Berry’s previous performances against Lees had been good but tonight he faced a champion in devastating form. Lees and Burns are still to play and Burns’ goal difference is now only five goals superior. That margin could have been smaller but for Willie Fleming’s second half fight back against Lees. Fleming had a lot of the ball and attack in this game but it was Lees’ finishing power which made the difference. Lees raced to a 3-0 lead with Fleming looking dispirited. But a Fleming strike revived his spirits and he was able to make the score more respectable with a late second goal.

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Ronnie McKenzie’s move up the league continued tonight. He now lies in third spot and is looking favourite to finish in that place. He did struggle to beat a stubborn John Mathieson but then took great satisfaction in a 3-0 win over Colin Berry. A miserable night for Berry was completed when he went down to the same scoreline against John Halpin.

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Fraser McKenzie returned to action and started well against Baver Bari taking the lead after only a few minutes. Bari, however, scored a deserved equaliser before the break. It was a close fought match but Bari proved to be the better finisher and edged out McKenzie 3-2. McKenzie might have hoped for a better result but in his second match, against Tom Burns, his expectations were obviously lower. He suffered a 4-1 defeat but at least he won’t have to face Burns again in the league.

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In the Woodend Handicap Cup John Mathieson started with a two goal advantage over John Halpin. Mathieson began well and took the game to Halpin but as so often happens Halpin broke away to pull back to 2-1 and so it stayed until half-time. With his lead reduced to one goal Mathieson became more cautious but not long into the second period Halpin brought the score level and then went on to break Mathieson’s heart when he netted a third. Halpin joins Dave Gladman in the semi-final.

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League

Lees 3 2 Fleming
Berry 0 7 Lees
Bari 3 2 F McKenzie
Mathieson 0 1 R McKenzie
Berry 0 3 Halpin
F McKenzie 1 4 Burns
R McKenzie 3 0 Berry

 

Woodend Handicap Cup

Mathieson 2 3 Halpin

 

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Club night 27/3/17

It was possible for only four matches to be played, two in the league and two in the Glasgow Cup. Malcolm Lees moved three points closer to Tom Burns at the top of the league with a 3-1 win over Barry Corr. Corr started on the front foot and for several minutes had Lees pinned in his own half. Corr repeatedly forced corners and throw-ins around the Lees goal but could not find a way through. Then on his first attack Lees took the lead. Once again Corr drove forward only to be hit by another Lees sucker punch. Lees had more of the game in the second half and Corr did manage to score but three goals down it was only consolation. Lees won the match with the qualities which have made him Glasgow champion – the ability to defend well when under pressure and an excellent goals to shots ratio.

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John Halpin’s fading hopes of finishing third were finally snuffed out when he went down 2-1 to Willie Fleming. Halpin had started well and led 1-0 at half-time but Fleming came back in the second period. Ronnie McKenzie and Barry Corr remain as threats to Fleming achieving third spot.

The Glasgow Cup semi-finals were also played. In the first Malcolm Lees took the lead against Tom Burns and held it until the equaliser right on half-time. That goal was crucial to the outcome of the match. Burns was able to start the second half without any pent up frustration and went on to score two fabulous goals to secure his place in the final.

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The second semi-final between Willie Fleming and Dave Gladman was a much more dour affair. In a match littered with mistakes neither player was able to gain ascendancy. Both players did have opportunities but did not come close to scoring. They will have to do it all over again.

League

Halpin 1 2 Fleming
Corr 1 3 Lees

 

Glasgow Cup

Burns 3 1 Lees
Fleming 0 0 Gladman

 

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Club night 20/3/17

The battle for the league championship took another turn tonight. The night started well for Tom Burns after lining up against Willie Fleming. Shortly after kick-off Fleming’s goalkeeper lost out in a tackle on an attacker who was left with an empty goal to place his shot. Thereafter it was Burns who took control of the match and win comfortably by three goals to nil. We wrote last week of Ronnie McKenzie’s fine run of form and that form continued tonight at the expense this time of Tom Burns. This was an exciting match of high quality. Twice McKenzie led and twice Burns equalised almost immediately. When McKenzie went 2-1 ahead with only three minutes remaining, Burns title hopes looked to be fading. But Burns’ determination was rewarded when a superb angled shot found the corner of the McKenzie net. A draw was a fair outcome.

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Burns now has a lead of nine points over Malcolm Lees who has four games in hand. The two have yet to play their second match. Whilst Lees is still the slight favourite, that late equaliser means that winning the title is still within Burns’ own hands. Currently his goal difference is six goals better and his ‘goals for’ column is greater. An exciting finish to the league is in prospect.

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A number of players are battling it out for third place. After his loss to Tom Burns, Willie Fleming improved his chances with a 2-0 win over Colin Berry. Fleming dominated the match with Berry failing to get a single shot on target. John Halpin’s third place chances are fading, however, following a draw with Dave Houston. Halpin led at half-time but he couldn’t keep that lead.

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Dave Gladman and Baver Bari fought out a Woodend Handicap Cup quarter final. Bari started a goal ahead but Gladman, playing a methodical possession game, levelled in the first half. Late in the second half Bari took the lead with a glorious shot on the run. But with just over a minute remaining Gladman found the net. The match was decided on shots with Gladman edging out Bari by 2-1.

League

Fleming 0 3 Burns
Berry 0 3 Fleming
Halpin 1 1 Houston
Burns 2 2 McKenzie

 

Woodend Handicap Cup

Gladman 2 2 Bari

Gladman wins 2-1 on shots

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Club night 13/3/17

In the absence of Tom Burns, Malcolm Lees moved six points closer to the top spot. He now lies five points behind Burns but with two games in hand. The two players have yet to meet a second time. It could well be a league decider. Lees started with a 5-1 defeat of Baver Bari. Bari did create a number of chances in this match but couldn’t score at a time when it could have put pressure on Lees. His goal, coming when he was four goals behind, only gave him consolation. Last time out Bari had drawn with Lees but on this occasion Lees had no problem with his finishing.

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Lees had more difficulty in his second match, this time against Ronnie McKenzie. McKenzie has been in fine form recently and has moved up to fourth in the league. Trailing 1-0 at half-time, McKenzie was able to level not long into the second half but only held that lead for a couple of minutes. McKenzie enjoyed much of the possession, indeed this has been his strength lately and he will be disappointed not to have got a share of the points.

Earlier McKenzie played out a 0-0 draw with old rival Colin Berry. Berry had the better of the first half but it was McKenzie who dominated the second and should have clinched it with a golden opportunity near the end. McKenzie’s best performance, however, was a fine 3-0 win over John Halpin. This season only Tom Burns has managed to beat Halpin by such a margin.

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One Woodend Handicap Cup match was also played. Dave Gladman started with a two-goal advantage over Malcolm Lees and when Gladman scored after only two minutes it was to be an uphill task for Lees. Gladman maintained possession for much of the time and it was well into the second half before Lees pulled a goal back. Gladman will now play either Barry Corr or Baver Bari in the quater-finals.

League

Berry 0 0 R McKenzie
Lees 5 1 Bari
Halpin 0 3 R McKenzie
R McKenzie 1 2 Lees

 

Woodend Handicap Cup

Gladman 3 1 Lees