Fixture: Longniddry Villa Blues v St Bernard BC Mid Blues
Competition: Ken Ritchie Cup
Date: Sunday 1st November 2015
After a 2 week break due to holidays it was time to get back to business. It was the battle of the blues as sunday seen us take on one of the toughest teams in our league, this time in a cup tie, St Bernards BC Mid Blues who are currently unbeaten in the league & unfortunately when we met them in the league a few weeks back we came up short suffering a 6-1 defeat away from home.
Since that time the boys have worked extremely hard and along with the addition of a few new faces to the team have shown remarkable improvement. Once again we had to improvise as we continue to look for someone to fill the goalkeeping gloves, but once again the unselfish nature of the team was humbling as our young "diamond" Hamish sacrificed himself to cover the goal tending. It is said that to be a goalkeeper you have to be a little crazy, and to take on the role of keeper in such a massive game against such strong opponents is just down right bonkers! With every passing week these lads improve and today they delivered a master class of never say die attitude that is starting to define their character both as players and people.
The game kicked off and I was a little worried that having no "proper" keeper would lead to us being steamrolled and losing by a cricket score. Some early "football" was being played by both sides as both Longniddry and St Bernard's showed real desire to get the ball on the deck and pass it about. Again, as shown against Lauriston, our midfield is starting to really show some grit and bite. Whereas previously tackles would be shirked, and now there is more desire to get the foot in and more importantly track back when possession is lost.
The footballing gods struck again as young Martin was forced off with injury as he was clearly struggling only 5 minutes into the match. However, he has heart of a lion and doesn't want let his team mates down as he tried to battle on but it soon became clear he was in no fit state. Thankfully, we now have the luxury of being able make a sub! So a reshuffle was required with Ben now pushing up into right midfield, and our makeshift keeper was playing more like a season pro making some great saves and really showing a growing confidence. Then disaster struck. I think I spoke to soon. Some crisp passing seen St Bernards break away, swung a great ball in the box and a nice finish despite the keepers best efforts. 0-1
Not long after, they struck again and now our opponents were showing why they are unbeaten so far this season. As the confidence grew so did their range of passing and we were starting to be stretched just a little but they could find no way past Hamish who was pulling of some realyl beautiful stops. One handed, tips over the bar, round the post, the lot! (I'm sure this lad's a goalkeeper!) Not that we were out of it by any means as we created 3 or 4 good chances, but just a little lack of vision or confidence to play the passes a little earlier & into space held us back. One chance just before half time seen Villa breaking into the box but nobody was able to get a solid connection.
Halt Time: Longniddry Villa Blue 0-2 St Bernards BC Mid Blues
At half time a little bit of hairdryer treatment was needed to wake the boys up, and to remind them to never give up. We sent them back out to "show their teeth", and they more than did that.
The 2nd half got underway and we once again showed we had what it takes to push any team in our league. We just need a little more confidence & belief in our own ability. One or two St Bernard attacks fizzled out as our keeper was playing more like Iker Casillas than our Hamish.
Time for a sub, and the introduction of new Signing Murray, and from a simple long ball Murray took a touch, got the ball under control, spun away from the defender, round the keeper and slotted home to half the defecit. 1-2 now, game on!
I think everyone in attendance could see a surge of belief and now the Longniddry boys started pushing the ball around not long after the deficit was halved, the ball was bobbling around the St Bernards box, half cleared, still bobbling around, "Shoot Muzza" were the cries from the touchline, and shoot he did! The ball landed just outside the box and an outrageous thunderbolt from Murray flew into the back of the net, and the Longniddry boys had come from 2 goals down to equaliser.
Could we now win the game? Some good possession football seen Murray race into the box and he played a nice ball across for Ross to smash home what looked like the winner. We were so close to completing a quite outstanding comeback, but as usual the football gods struck and a couple of poor tackles and some luck seen the St Bernards striker their striker race through and our painfully exposed makeshift keeper could do nothing to prevent a well taken equaliser with only 2 minutes on the clock.
Full Time: Longniddry Villa Blues 3-3 St Bernards BC Mid Blues
Extra time kicked off it was clear that the Villa lads where out on their little legs, but we were asked for one last big push unfortunately 2 goals in quick succession seen St Bernards all but kill the tie off at 3-5, or was it?
Not quite yet and once again the guys dug deep with a ball out of defence Murray raced clear of a tiring visitors defence and as the keeper came racing out , but Murray, with ice cold execution, lobbed the ball over the helpless keeper and not only sealed his hat trick but also gave us a last glimmer of hope. It wasn't to be the fairy-tale ending here as the clearly exhausted referee finally called an end to this epic game, and down we went 4-5.
There was no shame in the nature of this loss and I think we clearly earned the respect of our opponents after this performance, A massive well done to everyone of our players, Our new wonder keeper Casillas, wait, I mean Hamish! Our tireless defence, the midfield who are starting to battle, chase and pick passes and our forward guys who just need a little more luck in front of goal. Never in my coaching career has defeat come with so many positives. Last but not least, good luck to St Bernards in the next round.