After the previous weeks postponement, we were desperate to get a game of football played, so we were delighted when Moorside Park held up to the cold/rainy conditions.
We arrived at Dundonald with a fairly light squad, we had six boys unavailable through injury, illness and personal commitments and to make things worse goal keeper Jamie Robbie picked up a strain following training on Thursday and was not fit to play, therefore this left us with a 15 man squad.
This was a massive game for us with it being the midway point in our season, so we were keen to continue our undefeated run in the league but also a win would move us up further in the league to where we want to be
I felt that the opening 20 minutes of the game were frantic with both teams struggling to get the ball down and play, however, the first real action point came on 35 minutes, Danny Millar was shown a second yellow card and sent off. If I am honest I didn’t have too many complaints about the decision, regardless of how avoidable I thought I was. The disappointing part for me is that we then went on to lose a sloppy goal directly from the sending off. We left Callum Rarity free at the back post at a set play and he finishes well from 10 yards. This is extremely frustrating, our lack of concentration dealt us a double blow with a red card and conceding a goal directly from it.
That is the negative parts out of the way because the rest is all positive, from the moment the goal went in we dusted ourselves down and did what this group of players have been doing for the last 2 months and that is get together and never give up fighting for one another. Just on the stroke of halftime we got our just deserts when Jamie McCabe neatly slots home from close range after a superb header in by Ryan Roche.
When I spoke to the boys in the dressing room at halftime I told them that we could win this game but I needed everything they have got, I told the boys that I was not coming in here at 90 minutes with anything less than a point and being a man down is no excuse. The boys were all fired up and that showed straight away when put Dundonalds keeper under major pressure with a sustained 10 minutes of pressure, eventually we got a reward, when in the 66th and 70th minutes we scored twice from the spot after Gordon McDonald had destroyed the Dundonald defence with two surging runs into the box and was brought down. There can be no dispute over the penalties because and under pressure Sam Simpson stepped up to neatly put both away in the same corner giving us a well deserved 3-1 lead.
The last 15 minutes were very tense to watch with Dundonald putting us under pressure, however, our willingness not to concede or lose the game was evident when we had bodies throwing themselves in front of everything Dundonald had to throw at us. A special mention has to go to experienced goal keeper Alan Cormack who pulled off some incredible saves during this spell, and had a very good game.
The final whistle went and we secured the 3 points with a fantastic 3-2 victory and performance. Full credit has to go to the boys because when you go a goal down and are reduced to 10 men, it would be easy to look for excuses, however they stuck to the task and the work ethic and character they continue to show is superb. This win means that our last league defeat was back at the end of September which is a fantastic achievement for the boys but nothing less than they deserve.