A first round draw against one of the best sides in the country is not the easiest start to a Scottish cup campaign. Glasgow University were undeniably the underdogs heading into this fixture. However, as the 4-3 defeat suggests, they were certainly prepared to put up a fight against a team that is currently playing two leagues above them.
Having lost 4-0 in their previous match the squad could have been forgiven for starting with their heads down in this David and Golliath challenge against Menzieshill. On the contrary, Amit Marwaha’s team began the game strongly and both teams looked evenly matched in the opening exchanges.
The fast-paced game at times became heated; a bout of strong pressure from Menzieshill fifteen minutes in saw GU face four penalty corners and receive two green cards for tackles made by Andrew McGucken and Stuart Law. The GU defence, however, dealt well with the corners and after a good clearance, Rory McCann’s powerful break up the left almost set captain Finlay Horn up to score. Negating the strong breaks made by GU, Menzieshill scored an easy goal on the counter after a quick one-two up the right and an accurate cross in.
A second goal followed soon after through a smart free hit; taken quickly by Menzieshill and while GU contested. Menzieshill maintained this pressure until the end of the first half. William Redpath managed to keep GU in the game with a vital deflection away from the home goal in the final minutes. The first half ended at 2-0 to Menzieshill.
The beginning of the second half saw Menzieshill continue its offensive and an early third goal was scored. At this point, their blistering pace seemed to be proving too much for GU.
Spirits were raised, however, by a well-taken penalty corner by Craig Sinclair, whose strike hit the top left-hand corner of the Menzieshill goal. Minutes later, a fantastic break down the left of the field by Neil Morton-Lloyd followed. While his strike went wide, GU definitely seemed buoyed by this spell of attacking.
Menzieshill attempted to regain control of the game by successfully holding the ball, slowing the pace of the game. However, a clumsy error provided Ryan Bell with the opportunity to score. He took it well with an impressive reverse stick slap into the bottom right corner. The comeback was sealed when Michael Pollock successfully converted a second penalty corner for GU; Menzieshill appeared at a loss as to what to do with the vibrant GU side.
After an unusually quiet few minutes, a foul during a penalty corner allowed Menzieshill to once again take control of the game. After the ball hit a defender’s body part on the goal line, a penalty stroke was awarded, which Menzieshill converted. This brought the score line to 4-3.
The final ten minutes saw Menzieshill attempt to hold the ball as much as possible. This tactic was interrupted well by McGucken interceptions on a number of occasions. A green card deep into the second half for Menzieshill’s Gavin Byres illustrated their frustration at GU’s failure to give up.
Unfortunately, two free hits near the circle did not provide any opportunites and Louis Allwood was forced to make some great saves after a late surge from Menzieshill to maintain the 4-3 score-line until the final whistle.
The impressive display bodes well for the team and although it’s very early days, performances like this should definitely give them a shot at promotion come the end of the season.