Taylor Sullivan Cup – Round 3
Methilhill Strollers 0-4 AM Soccer Club
AM Soccer made the journey to Methilhill to face the next hurdle in their attempt to retain the Taylor Sullivan Cup. The pitch was in excellent condition given the thaw and overnight rain. AM fielded eight teenagers in the starting eleven, all of whom had progressed from the Club’s youth teams and their energy and endeavour got AM onto the front foot for the opening 20 minutes. A couple of chances passed before Macaulay drove outside the opposing full back and fired a good low cross into the path of Davidson, who converted for 1-0. As the rain developed into snowfall, the game went into a scrappy period with robust challenges all over the pitch but neither team giving much away. Sean Grant should have doubled the lead as a poor kick out was blocked and the ball spun into his path but with most of the goal available, hesitation allowed the GK to scramble back across goal and save with a leg. Methilhill were reduced to ten men before half time for an off the ball incident but there would no further goalmouth action.
It was clear that AM would dominate possession of the ball in the second half but Methilhill seemed content with the opportunity to counter attack. Watt and Porteus were well organised at the heart of the defence throughout and this provided a good platform from which to attack. As AM turned the screw, Houston was denied by a terrific save out of the top corner before Sean Grant burst clear twice but shot wide across goal on both occasions. Ross Grant tried from range as the Methilhill GK was caught 20 yards out but the second goal still evaded AM. The home side provided a reminder of their determination with a couple of well attacked set plays and a counter attack ending when their striker slipped when trying to turn.
AM went to the bench, introducing Johnstone, Pratt and G. Reilly, who was returning from injury. The second goal did arrive when Sean Grant’s pace got him down the side of the centre back and he finished low beyond the home GK. It was soon 3-0, as the referee punished a barge inside the box. G. Reilly stepped up and buried low into the corner to seal the tie. There was time for a fourth as AM broke on the counter attack and Reilly elected to shoot with a slight deflection ensuring the ball nestled in the net.
A pleasing response to last week’s disappointment and a place in the semi-final of the Cup for this bright, young squad.