Uddingston 3 - 3 AAM Gordonains (6-7 on pens)
By Craig Harper
The men's 1st team progressed into the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup on Saturday after a win against Uddingston. Match report by Rory McCann.
The AAM Gordonians 1st XI were off on their holidays to perhaps one of the better kept secrets of the West Coast Tourism Board - the home of the Tunnocks tea cake - Uddingston.
Saturday was an opportunity to continue our run in the Scottish Cup, but more importantly, to create some momentum against a team languishing alongside us at the wrong end of the table, ahead of our league fixture against the same opposition on Sunday.
While spirits were buoyed by the unexpected sunshine, Gordonians played the opening 15 minutes with minimal energy and focus - It was clear which of the teams had travelled 3 hours prior to the fixture. This eventually culminated in Uddingston taking the lead via a quick reaction to the second phase of a penalty corner. This was the wake up call Gordonians required, with the haphazard opening to the game replaced by controlled possession by Gordonians who were penetrating the Uddy 'D' with relative ease.
A combination of poor finishing and last ditch defending kept Uddy in front, however this was soon about to change. A rare foray in to the Gordonains 'D' left Uddingston susceptible to a counter attack. Some tidy passing from the Northern Irishmen, Livy and McCann set McCann free from the Gordonians 25. To honour journalistic impartiality I will have to describe the following events through a series of quotes from teammates:
"I was extremely worried when I saw that Rory had the ball in our 25." Harps;
"To be honest, like, I couldn't believe he actually passed me the ball." Livy;
"I looked over my shoulder and a split second later Rory had decimated their midfield and defence and was somehow already in their 'D'." Coffey;
"McCann's one handed reverse sweep to lob the 'keeper was possibly the greatest thing I have ever witnessed on a hockey pitch." Fraser Yates;
"Rory is my favourite player at the moment." Ali Dougall.
The game was tied 1-1 however, without hesitation, Uddy found themselves in the Gordonian's 'D' after the restart, only to be thwarted by a spectacular save from Sam, who advanced from his line like a scalded cat.
Quickly regaining control, brilliant work by Adam Walker yielded a short corner, the resulting goal to take the lead came by way of a trademark Craig Harper dragflick, once again favouring deception over pace, the 'keeper stood no chance.
Half time arrived not a moment too soon after a frantic 1st half played in suspiciously warm sunlight. Following the half time tangerines, Gordonians picked up where they left off. Ian Coffey making his return from business trips to the Balearic Islands and an ankle injury, did his Scotland selection chances no harm, doubling the lead with a fine finish across the goal in to the roof of the net with a ferocious forehand. You could see from his celebration what it meant to him.
At this point the game seemed to be as good as done, Uddy appeared short of ideas and Gordonians happy to conserve energy for Sunday's game. Unfortunately for the men in yellow, Uddingston managed to draw inspiration from a series of full hearted challenges and were well fired up for the last 10 minutes, scoring twice in quick succession and thereby ensuring the fate of this match would be decided via the lottery of penalty strokes.
Both sides converted their opening few strokes with ease, before Pelican's captain, Livy, attempted to bamboozle the Uddy 'keeper with his eyes prior to gently rolling the ball down the middle of the goal with all the ferocity of an andrex puppy. Alas, the 'keeper did not fall for the mind games and cooly stood still as the ball barely reached his pads. Time for Sam McGrath to become a hero, producing a fine save from the following stroke, prompting the stroke taker to vent his frustration on the poor Kookabura Multi Dimple Match Special, connecting with a delicious volley sending the young kooki whizzing past Sam's ear and on its way to Jupiter. I wonder if it made it.
Subsequent strokes were converted in sudden death and it was only a matter of time before someone missed the target. Thankfully for the Pelicans, that someone played for Uddingston. Celebrations ensued, the sweetness of the victory lasted late in to the night.
On to Sunday, the big one.