Fixture: Jim Baxter Memorial v Milton FC U16
Competition: Central Region Cup
Venue: Broadwood Stadium
Date: Sunday 8th November 2015
So where do I begin to write a match report on what was an excellent game of football. Jim Baxter Memorial took on league leaders and cup favourites Milton FC. The JBM boys knew this game was not going to be easy as Milton have proven over the last couple of years that they are definitely one of the top teams at this age level having won many trophies and league titles.
Prior to the game both teams of young men showed great maturity in perfectly observing a minutes silence for remembrance Sunday with JBM sporting poppies on their strip in honour of our veterans.
As the game kicked off it certainly appeared that the JBM players had taken on board the coach’s words in the way that they needed to approach the game. JBM had trained and worked exceedingly hard and in a certain manner all week for this game and this newly reformed team of young men definitely brought everything they had worked on straight on to the pitch.
From the kick off JBM pressed and pushed Milton onto the back foot, showing that they had the bit between their teeth to mix it with the big boys, and were playing at a really high pace. JBM certainly had the better balance of play in the first 10 or 15 minutes, but we would wait and see if they could keep it up for the entire match.
As the game continued, Milton started to create some good patterns of play, showing that they are a superb passing team. However, they were unable to break down the well drilled JBM defence of Cunningham, Macrae, Hughes and Hamilton who forced Milton to shoot from distance on several occasions, and without causing any real danger to the JBM goal.
As the game progressed it was more evident that it was going to take something special from either team to open the scoring. JBM definitely where getting a lot of joy down their own left hand side, and the forward line of Dalziel and Malone never stopped working to make themselves available. Superbly holding the ball up and bringing the home side forward. JBM were winning more and more free kicks around the penalty area, and were really unfortunate not to get something from their hard work when Dalziel delivered another superb ball from the left hand side but nobody could get a clean connection on the ball as it pinged around the penalty area before it was cleared by Milton.
Half time was fast approaching, and Milton knew they were definitely in a game and they really did step it up as the game headed for the interval. For a split second JBM lost concentration on the right hand side allowing the Milton winger to deliver a curling cross into the heart of the defence and the lapse in concentration lead to the opening goal of the game as the Milton striker drilled the ball home to break the deadlock. 1-0 to the visitors.
The JBM boys didn't let this affect them and again pressed Milton further and further back, winning a corner on the left. Dalziel again delivered a great corner from the left and Hughes rose high above everybody else and was very unlucky to see his header fly just past the post. Straight away, Milton pressed up field looking for a second before the break, and as they penetrated through the middle of the pitch their midfielder unleashed a rocket of a shot towards the top corner, but Sanderson in the JBM goal pulled off what can only be described as a world class save to keep his team in this tie and go in only 1 goal down at half time.
Half Time: Jim Baxter Memorial 0-1 Milton FC
The second half kicked off and again you could see the hunger and desire of the JBM players to try and get something from this game. JBM were playing to their strengths by using their left side to great effect, but once the ball was put into the box there was nobody that could get on the end of it to level the scores.
The game was end to end and it was evident that due to the weather conditions players were finding it difficult. JBM freshened up the team with a further two subs with Davenport and McSharry replacing Sanders and Mitchell. This almost had an immediate effect as McSharry looked to get on the end of a well weighted ball through, but the Milton centre half just got a flick on the ball for it to nestle in the goalkeepers' arms.
With 20 minutes left, JBM were forced in to a change when Cunningham had to come off after an innocuous challenge with the Milton forward. It was later found that Cunningham had broken the metatarsal bone in his left hand and will need to be operated on tomorrow. Both teams wish Ryan a speedy recovery.
The game was affected by the conditions that got steadily worse, but it didn't stop both team’s desire in what can only be described as a proper cup tie, as Milton tried to double their lead and kill the game, but JBM were not about to let that happen as they were continually looking to find that bit of luck and the break thy needed to find the equaliser.
Unfortunately, for JBM this didn’t come and the game ended in a 1-0 victory to Milton.
Full Time: Jim Baxter Memorial 0-1 Milton FC
I have to admit that both teams played an outstanding game of football, and played out a proper cup tie. Milton are along established team with a great history and exceptional teams but the JBM team that took the field today, despite the defeat, will play worse games this season and win. By working hard and having the desire, the JBM boys proved they are a match for anyone, and certainly put down a marker to show they will not be pushovers this season.