Eleven goals, three penalties and drama at every turn in the match between Bellfield and Southside 1997s will mean I won't have many better games to report on for the rest of my life! Ultimately, Southside won the match by a single goal, but they have their keeper and lady luck to thank for the result, as Bellfield, sitting second bottom of the league, will surely be left bamboozled as to how they didn't win the match, or at the very least, get a point.
At half past one on Sunday October 6th, it looked a miserable day down at Struthers Park in Kilmarnock, and the Ayr-based Southside may have been wondering if the game would be postponed. Thankfully, Struthers is an excellent pitch, and this cracker of a match went ahead. Ironically, come two o'clock, the sun was shining, and all of a sudden there was a huge turn out to watch this match. The game kicked off at 2pm, but Bellfield didn't start until about quarter past: they gifted Southside an early lead. Blaine Swift drove down the left side, and not a single challenge was made on him. His dinked cross evaded the outstretched Allan Tipping's glove, and Stuart Reid headed home.
It should have been 2-0 five minutes later. Chrissy Hamilton's through ball found Craig Bova's run, and the right-back's shot was blocked by Tipping, expertly making amends for the first goal. Then the big goalie parried brilliantly from Blaine Swift's drive from the penalty spot area moments thereafter. This was Southside's best period of play in the entire match. Bellfield finally woke up and on the thirteenth minute mark found themselves level. Mikey Stewart played in Scott Cowie, and the striker's shot was saved by Spiers, and then Stewart's follow up was also blocked and cleared, however, only as far as Adam Wales who drove back into the box and found his resulting shot blocked, but eventually Blair 'Big Mac' MacLaughland was on hand to stab the loose ball home. That seemed to kickstart Bellfield, and for the rest of the match they played attacking football, created chances and sometimes left themselves open to the counter. Sadly, the latter proved to be decisive on the result, but it really was a cracking match. Firstly, Cowie was in again after a superb flick on from Wales. Spiers - who had just played forty five minutes for Kilmarnock and will complete his move tomorrow - made an outstanding stop.
Moments later, it was Josh Caldow's turn to be stopped by Spiers, as the two captains faced each other the winger couldn't beat Spiers from an angle. However, it was Southside who got their noses back in front. From a corner, Caldow needlessly slide tacked Bova from behind, getting nowhere near the ball, and gifting the Ayr side a penalty. Roy Barr blasted the ball home to make it 2-1, giving Tipping no chance and - that cliché - actually bursting the net. Soon after, it was Cowie again being foiled by Spiers. He brilliantly controlled a long ball, and found himself too much room to turn and shoot from fifteen yards, but it wasn't to be the strikers day at all. Seven minutes prior to half time, Caldow played in Stewart, and his low drive had everyone holding their breath, but he could not beat the frame of the goal, as it bounced off the post and out. He knows himself he should have scored though. That proved costly, as Southside hit Bellfield on the break, and in a costly few moments, were soon down 4-1. Roy Barr controlled a switch right-to-left ball, and powered to the byline, cutting it back for overzealously attacking centre half Rory Connell, who tapped home.
Straight from centre, Bellfield gave the ball away and Reid chasing a hopeful ball through, Tipping called for the ball and slid out, but his own defender Ryan Spence took the ball away from him, was easily disposed, and Reid had an open goal to tap into. It could have been more. Reid had the ball in the net moments later, but was wrongly adjudged to be offside. Marco Pieroni then was thwarted by Tipping, but had the left midfielder passed the ball square, it would have been a certain goal. That concluded the first half action, with Southside three goals to the good.