Saturday 30th September – Carnegie 3rd XI v Grange 6th XI @ Edinburgh Academy
After last week’s excellent start to the league against Grange, expectations were high going into the second game against Inverleith, even though they were relegated from Division 1 from the 3rd bottom slot. As the week progressed however and the list of unavailability’s grew, some doubts were beginning to creep in. With Paul Ralph and Alan Aitken missing from the line-up, it was going to be a hard task for the two U16 centre midfielders to cope with the onslaught of the Inverleith attacks and with Robbie Pollock also unavailable, Steve Bristol kindly agreed to play a second game to help us out between the posts. I have rarely seen a team turn up to play with so many players that before the game can begin they have to select who would play and who could not be named on the team sheet!! This influx of players allowed the rapid rotation of players which meant that the game was played at a blistering pace from the first whistle to the last and great credit goes to everyone for managing to keep pace with the opposition for the full 70 minutes.
We knew it was going to be a hard day at the office when from the first whistle, a 6 man passing move from Inverleith gave our goalkeeper his first touch (and second) of the ball. It was however not all one sided as we did manage to make good inroads to the Inverleith danger area but that final touch in front of goal was just not good enough to get past their rather good young goalkeeper. The game continued in this end to end fashion until the deadlock was broken 13 minutes into the first half as Inverleith capitalised on one of their 10, yes 10 penalty corners with a hard low drag flick past the outstretched kicker of the GK. 0-1 Inverleith. This did not change the game plan any and it continued to flow from end to end with many chances for both sides bringing excellent saves from the keepers. Inverleith did however manage to get the ball behind the defence to the baseline on one of these attacks and a textbook penalty spot cross found a very closely marked forward who only just managed to get to the ball to deflect into the bottom corner before Mark Sutterby could intercept. 0-2 Inverleith. With only 4 minutes to go in the first half, Carnegie won themselves a PC. The initial drag flick from Finlay looked to be sailing top corner until the keeper somehow managed to get a stick to it and guide it just over the crossbar. Luckily, the drag flick had glanced the first runner’s shin guard and another PC was awarded. This time, the drag flick was low to the keepers right that he again saved, but before the Inverleith defence could clear, Graeme Cromb was on hand to somehow reverse slice the ball just over the keeper and shave a coat of paint off the inside of the post. It all happened so fast that even Graeme didn’t realise the ball had found the net!. 1-2 Carnegie. With spirits high, the final 4 minutes was played at a frantic pace which forced the Inverleith keeper into two further excellent saves but that was how the first half would end. Inverleith 2, Carnegie 1.
The second half started just like the first and within the first 10 minutes of the second half, Inverleith had managed to win four more PC’s but the Carnegie defence was resolute and managed to keep the ball out of the net (somehow). Unfortunately, it was on the 7th PC of the game that they finally managed to extended their lead, this time with an unfortunate deflection just in front of the GK that allowed it to squirm over his pads. 1-3 Inverleith. With the pace of the game and the open end to end play from both sides, it was inevitable that the last 15 minutes of the game was going to be a challenge. The Carnegie defence however managed to hold the Inverleith attacks at bay for long periods of time but again, it was from the tenth and final penalty corner of the game that Inverleith found the back of the net with a high drag flick past both keeper and post man to bring the score line to the final result. Inverleith 1-4.
Although the game ended in defeat, it was not because we played poorly. The game was won by the better team and it was a very good demonstration to us that quick movement of the ball coupled with selfless off the ball running and clever decisions in the ‘D’ is how the game at the higher end of the leagues is played. Roll on next week where we play Stirling Wanderers 1’s in their first game of the campaign.
Final score – Carnegie 1 – Inverleith 4