0 - 0
League (2nd Division)
1 Derek Gray
2 Ian Printy
3 David MacKenzie
4 Les McVay
5 Dave Cathcart
6 Willie Hogg
7 John McFarlane
8 Jim Hancock
9 Derek Fotheringham
10 Billy Harper
11 Kenny Davidson
Roddy McKenzie 1
Norrie Hall 2
Gregor Abel 3
Jim Fallon 4
Sam Goodwin 5
Dougie Hay 6
Davie Cooper 7
Sammy Henderson 8
Mike Larnach 9
Joe McCallan 10
Jimmy Lumsden 11
12 Roy Jones
14 Alan Duthie
Ian Browning 12
Bobby Provan 14
Ian Browning for Jimmy Lumsden
TR Kyle (Referee)
"What a load of rubbish" chanted the few hundred spectators at Meadowbank and not without justification for this was a non-event with an entertainment value of nil. True, the conditions were deplorable but this is scant excuse for the inept 90 minutes served up by both sides. At a time when football has to be attractive to encourage supporters to turn out there was absolutely nothing in this match to draw would-be fans from the comfort of their firesides.
Most of the blame must rest on the shoulders of the senior league's newest team, Meadowbank who make absolutely no effort to play attractive soccer week after week.
Their policy is obviously one of survival with a capital S and they are not too particular as to how they stop their opponents. Shirt pulling, niggling fouls and booting the ball on to the famous running track at every opportunity added up to frustration for Bankies and the crowd.
Referee Kyles handling of the match added to the all-round dismay for his constant whistling, usually in favour of the home side, ruined any possibility of a free flowing game.
Bankies, only have themselves to blame for not collecting both points for they had most of the play against a poor side. It was impossible to compare the team that struggled here with that which had opened up opposition defences at will only a few weeks ago as Bankies made little headway against their opponents defence in depth tactics.
They did play some neat midfield leading up work but the final cross or shot was invariably off target or easily dealt with by Gray.
McCallan and Cooper linked well in the 12th minute and the winger ended a neat run with a shot from the edge of the box that Gray saved well. Then, a 25 yard dipper from Hay had Gray beaten but landed on top of the net.
Thistle's attacks in the first half were few and far between. However, They came close when a fine run and cross by Davidson was headed narrowly past by McFarlane.
One hoped that the second half would improve and certainly Bankies started aggressively and should have sewn the game up. A brilliant move involving McCallan and Cooper gave Hall the chance to cross to Larnach at the near post but Gray made a brave save at the second attempt. Then a quick turn took Cooper past Cathcart but his shot was inches wide.
After this initial burst, Play returned to the pattern of the first half but Bankies survived an extremely dangerous moment on the hour mark. Dreadful slackness by the defence left McFarlane to run in on McKenzie unchallenged. As the keeper raced from his goal it looked as though the winger would score but he panicked and shot straight at the keeper, who, although outside his area, saved the day by fisting the ball away. From the free kick, Hancock blasted the ball over the bar and this was about Thistle's last serious attack.
They defended even more stubbornly from then on and booted the ball even further away. Indeed, MacKenzie was lucky not to be booked for blatant time wasting as he belted the ball out of sight twice in as many minutes.
The introduction of Browning made no difference to Bankies penetration and it was a pointer to their Performance that any one of six players could have made way for the sub, the man coming off being Lumsden.
Despite hectic pressure towards the end, when both Cooper and McCallan scorned good chances Bankies failed to find the net and had to settle for a draw. Meadowbank seemed extremely pleased to have won a point from the league leaders but if they continue to play this way they certainly will not win many friends.
Perhaps someone should inform their manager that football is supposed to be an entertainment.
Bankies would be first to admit that they had a stinker and many players were well below par. Hopefully, it was just an off-day and things will be sorted out in time for the extremely important match when second placed Alloa are the visitors to Kilbowie.
If Bankies avoid defeat they will have completed the first half of the league programme undefeated, having dropped just three points. It would be a great achievement and one that the team will be fighting hard to achieve. Alloa are going great guns, and have only lost one league match themselves. It all adds up to a promising match that would be well worth a trip to Kilbowie Park.
|Roddy McKenzie (GK)||-||20||-||20||-|
|Ian Browning (sub)||-||4||-||4||-|
No games played.