St. Patrick’s Vs Giffnock SC Reds – 2004
St. Patrick’s 1 – 0 Giffnock SC Reds
We lost sight of mundane affairs today as we bravely ventured into the Scottish Cup. A first round draw had thrown Giffnock SC Reds into our path, and come what may we knew our journey would not be a bed of roses. Perched high on hilly ground, Petershill would be home in this lunchtime kick off.
We made the journey without Aidan, unable to make it back home in time. Jamie came along to support the team, still recovering from injury. However, Dylan, Mairtin and Euan would not be deterred by injury. Their courage in taking to the field, given their physical discomfort, is also an indication of their determination to do well by the team and support their team mates. To meet the challenge of Giffnock SC Reds, a few players were unfortunately shifted out of their traditional positions in response to the needs of the game. We had to make a success of the hand we were dealt; that was the message.
Our start to the game was tentatively timid. Lennon was called into action as early as the fourth minute and did us proud with a brilliant block having previously parried onto the bar. Our defence were stretched in these early exchanges and Giffnock were clearly dictating play. Lennon again pounced at crucial times to ensure we stay in the game. A quick tactical switch saw us slowly get a measure of the opposition. We started to threaten the visitors’ goals. As we grew into the game the tension rose on and off the pitch. On the pitch the battle was plain for all to witness. The clatter of tackles told of the desire of both teams not to give an inch. Having now settled into our rhythm we were able to contain the opposition and gain the ascendancy as we headed to the break. Off the pitch both sets of supporters could barely watch gripped by the fury of the game.
At the restart Harald came on and Joe took over from Lennon in goals. The game was well poised and whoever broke the deadlock would most likely go on to win it. A much more stable play at the back set the foundation we needed to attack. Some great chances came and went. Greatly positioned dead ball sets were not taken full advantage of. To make matters worse Dylan could not continue, crippled with pain he had to come off and Owen was thrown into battle. Mairtin would be next, also unable to continue. With five minutes of normal time to go we conceded a penalty. Our support heart sank. The emotional roller-coaster was on its downwards motion for us. With the opposition spirits high only Joe stood in the way of a sure spot kick. The referee whistle shrieked like an execution summon. Time stood still, our eyes transfixed we waited for the inevitable celebrations from Giffnock. Instead Joe stretched his left leg out to deny Giffnock to the sheer joy from our support and his team mates. It was never in doubt people, never in doubt!
We headed to extra time still confident. It was now time for our training to see us through. Ben was on fire, literally. Michael worked his socks off, Dom and Joseph kept running, Patrick recovered well, Tyler was relentless, Owen adjusted to the heat of battle, our forward line kept pressing and unsettling the opposition defence. Ben came close with a fierce free kick. With three minutes left on the clock the siege of the opposition goals finally paid off. A pass back under pressure caught the oncoming keeper short as the ball rolled into the far bottom corner. The screams that greeted the goal were in stark contrast to a disconsolate Giffnock. Among the exuberance of the goal and the eagerness of Giffnock to rescue a dire situation in the dying minutes, Ben could no longer carry on with legs riddled with cramps. Mairtin limped on, then had to come off unable to carry on. Dylan went on instead to make up the numbers. Our forward line helped manage the rest of the game keeping Giffnock into their own half. The referee’s whistle finally put an end to a great game for the neutral.
The boys came through today’s challenge as we hoped they would. Their training served them well against strong opposition. They were able to promptly adapt to circumstances and show the mental fortitude and resilience to see it through. On a day when we really needed divine intervention we certainly got it from an unlikely source, Joe’s left leg. Well done boys!