Heading west

Our opponents this weekend were reigning Lowland League champions East Kilbride at the K Park Stadium. It was my birthday on Sunday so we made a weekend out of it and stayed in Edinburgh on Friday and Saturday. We got the train into Glasgow Queen Street on Saturday morning and headed down to Glasgow Central to catch the train to East Kilbride.

On arrival at East Kilbride, we opted to walk from the train station and find a local pub as the stadium was just under 2 miles away. The weather was lush, it was red hot so the preference was one with an outdoor area. It was a short walk to the closest pub, the Montgomery arms. They had the Leicester v Spurs game on inside and a seated area outside.

We headed to the ground just before 2pm via a local taxi. I’d seen online that there was a sports bar next door to the ground so that’s where we headed. Inside, there were three other punters in but the closing stages of the Leicester game was on the TV. We finished off our drinks and made the short walk across the road to the stadium.

It’s a decent little stadium at K Park. We were told there was no standing behind the goal, it was only open for directors and big crowds. Wikipedia has the capacity as 660 (400 seated).

Onto the game itself, we took a very early lead through Daryl Healy. It was from a long ball forward, the defender seemed to misjudge the flight of the ball and Healy found himself 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper and finished well. What a start!

The first half was quite even with chances at both ends. East Kilbride almost hit back straight away but their winger saw their shot sail over the bar. He had a similar opportunity later in the half with the same result.

Martin made a very good save in the East Kilbride goal from the very impressive Daryl Healy and Dan Purves couldn’t quite reach the rebound. Martin made a further save 5 minutes later again from Healy who saw his shot pushed behind for a corner from a difficult angle.

East Kilbride’s equaliser came right at the end of the half. They broke away from a Berwick corner and got a cross into the box which was cleared away for a corner of their own. The initial corner was cleared to the touchline on the far side. Brownlie collected the ball and whipped a cross into the box. Winter met it with a header on the far right hand side of the six yard box and the ball hit the back of the net.

Our new loan signing from Rangers, John Balde, had an effort of his own blocked just before half time but the resulting corner was cleared. It was disappointing to lose a goal so close to half time but the performance was much better than the week before away at Tranent.

I ended up just outside the turnstiles at half time and could hear Stuart Malcolm tearing into his players from th East Kilbride dressing room, so expected a reaction to come in the second half. The home fans certainly got one, with Kilby scoring one minute after kick off. Paul Winters with the goal from outside of the box with the help of a heavy deflection.

East Kilbride were pushing forward and we were under big pressure. Four minutes later, the home fans were celebrating again. Winter crossed the ball into the box, Brennan got a hand to it but Ruari Paton was waiting to head home from close range at the far post.

We found ourselves 3-1 down, shell shocked and it looked like we were going to concede every time East Kilbride went forward. Ricky Miller returned to the side after missing last week and was a major factor in ensuring we did not concede any further goals.

It took us until ten minutes into the half when we managed to get our composure back and pushed up the pitch. Shortly after, we won a corner on the right hand side. The ball was played into the box and Healy got up highest and met it with a fantastic header which went in off the post.

Game on! We continued to fight and battle in midfield and tried to get in behind but we weren’t creating too much in terms of clear cut chances. Purves saw a header clip the post and Healy had a volley which went wide of the post. Shortly before this, Healy had gone down with an injury and required medical treatment.

On the hour mark, Yano made a double change with Daryl Healy and John Balde making way for Grant Rose and Yaw Osei. It was a surprising change as I thought both had been our best players on the day, Healy in particular causing alot of problems. However, I’m not sure if Healy may have been struggling with the earlier injury and I don’t know how much football John Balde has played recently so this might have had an impact on the decision.

Yaw made an immediate impact, winning a free kick on the edge of the box. Kevin Waugh took it, got it over the wall and drew a very good save from the goalkeeper, who pushed it away for a corner. This was our biggest chance of the second half. We pushed forward in the last ten minutes but failed to create much of note. Kilby caught us on the counter attack twice and Brennan made two very good saves to keep the score at 3-2.

All in all an improvement in performance and could have easily picked up a point (if not all three), had we not had hit the self destruct either side of half time. Darryl Healy deservedly got the social media man of the match award but John Balde also had a very good game. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.

Onto the Cumbernauld Colts game on Saturday. We are back at Shielfield for the first time in a couple of weeks. Hoping to overturn our poor form.