Stewarton Annick and Antonine got a point each as they held each other to a 3-3 draw in an exciting game in the Paisley Johnstone & District YFL 1999s league.
After their sluggish start against Tass Thistle a couple of days earlier, Antonine sought to come out of the blocks with a bit more urgency in their following game. Confidence is fickle, though, and they ultimately failed to grab the game by the horns immediately, beginning slowly and ponderously once again.
Their goalkeeper Andy Carroll was already called into action after two minutes, making a good save. Scarcely six minutes on, a through ball found an Annick attacker, who broke the deadlock after having timed his run cleverly with Antonine claiming he had been offside.
Stewarton Annick were clearly not satisfied with their lead as they sought to increase the margin and attacked with fervour. Carroll saved Antonine as he parried a couple of efforts to keep the scoreline down.
Gradually, Antonine came back into it and it was Lewis Smith who fired just over from their first good opportunity. After 25 minutes, the Annick goalkeeper dropped a fine Brendan Kelly cross, but the defence somehow managed thwart Antonine’s attackers as Dom Cairneys shot was blocked and the keeper then pulled off another save.
Half Time: Antonine 0-1 Stewarton Annick
Although the exact words of Antonine’s half-time team talk will never be known, they were surely the right ones as Antonine went into the half like men possessed. They were in total control, constantly probing the away side and creating various chances.
First, a header from Smith went just over. Shaun Quinn also came close to scoring, but it was to take something special to break down the Stewarton Annick defence. In the 70th minute, a flowing move involving five players had Cairney beat two opponents before pulling back across goal. This passage of breathtaking football got them their reward as Smith was in the right position to force home the equaliser.
A further goal for each side set up an exciting finale to the game.
Ten minutes from time, Smith himself beat two defenders and the goal in his sights when the defender seemed to pull him down in the box. Antonine were furious with the referee who had waved play on.
And Antonine were to regret it dearly, as 86 minutes in, a lack of concentration meant they didn't deal with an Annick corner that was scrambled home to regain the lead.
Antonine then showed tremendous character to equalise within in a minute, as Danny Hamilton beat two players and his cross was bundled home by Smith to get another one and make it 3-3.
In the last three minutes, Antonine created three good chances as they went all out for the victory. Smith, Hamilton and Harry Shaw all came close, but there was to be no more scoring.
Full Time: Antonine FC 3-3 Stewarton Annick
Antonine did well to claw themselves back into the game after Stewarton Annick had dominated the proceedings for much of the first half.
The man of the match award goes to Dom Cairney, who gave a great performance.
Antonine Squad: Carroll, MacIver, Kelly, Quinn, Miller, Hutton, Cairney, McKendrick, James, Donaghy, Smith, Maxwell, Shaw, Hamilton.