Sighthill, Monday, August 22.
South East Region Youth FL, under-17 league fixture.
Edinburgh City vs AC Oxgangs 95
Author: Ian Mackay
On an overcast but balmy night on the pitch closest to the tower blocks that are going to be brought down in three weeks time. No football on that Sunday, Scottish Cup day, at Sighthill.
Edinburgh City attacked the Oxgangs goal in raid after raid at the start. It was high energy and tempo from the opening whistle from Norrie Brown. It was a busy night for the referee as this game never let up from start to finish. On the big No 1 pitch at Sighthill covered in grass cuttings, it was not a night for classic football. I would defy any team to play passing football on this surface. And it was positively bizarre in th extreme to see a grass cutting machine in action on one of the pitches prior to a game starting.
It was a cracking game, possibly even brilliant given the state of the pitch. AC Oxgngs were under a great deal of pressure from the home side in the opening stages and they coped brilliantly to deny City a goal. No easy task, I can tell you! But, gradually, the visiting side forced their way in to the game with quite exceptional coolness and no lack of skill or style. They, Oxgangs, in their superb AC Milan colours, used the ball very well indeed to halt the Edinburgh City bandwagon and also set up good attacks. The warning signs were there for everyone to see. AC Oxgangs were good at the back, inventive in midfield and dangerous when on the attack. While the home side continued to batter away at the Oxgangs defence, the much more structured approach to the game saw the visiting side play with admirable coolness and excellent skills at breaking away to the other end of the big pitch. The overhead conditions made it a bit gloomy weatherwise, but there was nothing gloomy at all about the way both sides set about each other.
Play started to flow back and forward and it was City goalie, Craig Moffat who had to pull off several good saves and blocks to keep Oxgangs at bay. Cracking stuff to watch, I can tell you. And all for free - Oh, I have said that already. But it is worth repeating. Great performances from many of the young players on view, as well.
Despite all the effort and energy expended throughout a super first half, there was only one goal to celebrate at the half way stage. And it was for AC Oxgangs, and what a super goal it was as well. The very cool, talented and skilful Thabani Patty, swept a quite wonderful defence splitting pass from deep on the left in to the path of David Scott and the Oxgangs No 3, beat the outrushing Craig Moffat to the ball, rounded the keeper and swept the bal in to the net. Wonderful goal, but where were the fireworks? Sadly, these are kept for the visitors and the non-paying z-listed celebreties under cover on the Castel esplanade. I will, therefore take the chance to shower praise on the following performers for their virtuoso performances. None of them on the fiddle I may add!
Edinburgh City - Craig Moffat, Greg Lobban, Greg Powrie, Kieran McGraw, Ruaridh Waddell, Rory McIvor, Mark Osborne, Lewis Cockburn, Stuart Donaldson, Tinashe Rowana, Euan Castle, Alan Koturrasz, Fraser Johnston.
AC Oxgangs - Bruce Connelly, Connor Lunn, Robin Sloan, David Scott, Liam Rennie, Nathan Leicester, Murray McCallum, Connaire Lyons, Adam Spencer, Drew Thompson, Declan Hogg, Fraser Wells, Andrew Swinney, Thabani Patty, Jed Baxter.
And conductor, sorry, referee - Norrie Brown.
At Sighthill, it was pure theatre and it was for free. On the restart, it was Oxgangs, who orchestrated (goan yersel, Ian) sweeping attacks on the home goal and Moffat was outstanding. Murray McCallum took over the conductor’s baton and the big No 6 called the tune with his excellent play. A terrific cross ball from the right, delivered by Jed Baxter was punched away by Moffat under pressure at the time. Great stuff to watch. There were no free drinks or food in sight as it got darker. David Scott sent in a great free kick at the City goal, but it was headed away. At the other end, a Greg Powrie free kick went straight through to the Oxgangs keeper. The ball would just not run for the home side, no matter how hard they tried. Oxgangs, on the other hand, were expert at turning dangerous attacks in to forays towards the City goal. Great to watch and admire! Tinashe Rowana had added pace to the home attack but the No 14 kept losing his footing in the piles of grass cuttings left lying on the surface.
Connaire Lyons was prominent in the Oxgangs attack and I thought he in particular had a terrific game. Another good cross delivered by Baxter from the right was headed wide by big No 5, Nathan Leicester. In the 58th minute, Oxgangs went 2-0 up and it was the sheer determination and strength of character of Lyons that took him past a couple of City defenders to slot a great shot wide of Moffat. City raised their game and the home side must be praised for their amazing efforts to get themselves back in to contention. I must say, I thought the tackling got tougher and the passions of the players went to a higher level. It was like a cup tie at times as players were sent flying and dare I say it, a wee confrontation or two for the very good referee to deal with. Declan Hogg showed up well when Oxgangs attacked but the star of the show for the home side was goalkeeper Craig Moffat. One of his saves from Hogg was truly outstanding and brought spontaneous applause from both touchlines.
Good goalmouth action at both ends but Edinburgh City just could not put the ball in the back of the net. I must admit I was a bit sorry for them. It must have been very frustrating indeed. This thoroughly enjoyable game of under-17 football ended in the gloaming and it was time to look back and think of all the good things that took place throughout the game. Every player a true local hero in my book. Some better than others on the night and well done, indeed, to AC Oxgangs. In any other game, Edinburgh City will likely score goals themselves and experience the happiness that comes with winning. But not at Sighthill on Monday, August 22. Thanks to everyone involved for another great night’s football.