A 25 yard rocket from the right boot of Thomas Mcdonald, midway through the second half, was enough for the GUFC 2s to take three points on a wet Wednesday afternoon.
After a difficult opening to the season, which saw the 2s fail to pick up any points in their first two games, momentum seems, finally, to be building, as the team enters an important stage in the season. The win against Edinburgh came a week after a confident victory in the Cup, away to Aberdeen, and represents the first three league points picked up in this campaign. For a day that ended so positively, the build-up to the game was certainly less optimistic. Unable to field neither a natural striker or goalkeeper, captain Craig Gunderson was forced to deploy a slightly weaker squad.
Despite pre-match setbacks, Glasgow started the game as the better of the two sides. Confidently moving the ball around from the first whistle, Glasgow firmly took control of proceedings, with the holding midfield duo of Mcdonald and Mckinlay dictating the tempo of the game. Meanwhile, Daniel McCaffrey, who had an impressive game, starting as he did in the unfamiliar position of striker, linked-up several times in the early exchanges with winger Eoin Patrick. Several chances were created, with Jonni Marsh arriving just a split second too late to pounce on a cutback from Patrick.
Soon, Glasgow was rewarded for its efforts. With 25 minutes on the clock, Olly Mitchell received the ball wide left, after what was an intelligent overlapping run. He raced past two defenders, who were scrambling to get back, but had no effective response to the fullback’s pace. Both defenders ran into the box at an acute angle, as he delivered a firm shot across the face of the sprawling goalkeeper, into the bottom righthand corner of the next. The goal seemed to inject a greater sense of urgency to Edinburgh’s play.
After a prolonged spell of possession, Edinburgh came agonisingly close to an equaliser. A free kick from 25 yards curled around the wall, headed for the bottom right corner. A smart save was made by the outstretched arm of Mario Santos. Edinburgh’s search for a goal lost momentum, and it was only after another set-piece that they found their equaliser. Just before the half-time, a corner from the right was met by a thunderous header from the Edinburgh number 6, which escaped the attention of his marker, which levelled the scores.
Edinburgh started the second half, just as they had finished the first. Glasgow goalkeeper Mario Santos somehow managed to stop a header from Edinburgh’s number 9, who missed an opportunity to score at point-blank range. Glasgow started pressing further up the pitch, and were successful in depriving the Edinburgh midfield of space to play through. The intensity of the game rose, as both teams sought to find a winner.
As the game was on a knife-edge, it was a moment of brilliance from Glasgow’s midfielder Tom McDonald that tipped the balance in their favour. Controlling a high, loose, ball, McDonald, dummying his opposite number, skillfully created some space, 25 yards from goal. Looking up, he let fly a bullet of shot, that crashed into the net from the underside of the crossbar.
The game stayed tight, as Edinburgh looked to salvage something from their trip west. The calm, defensive, partnership of Callum Windrum and Craig Gunderson, however, was resolute. They kept their composure as Glasgow saw off the final 10 minutes of the game without any further serious threats to victory.
The Glasgow 2s will have been delighted to win after such a close encounter. Next on the fixture list is a trip north to Aberdeen for the second time in as many weeks. Skipper Craig Gunderson was pleased with his team’s effort: “It was a tough game given our depleted numbers, but I thought we worked hard as a team. We definitely saw some quality from Tom who won the match for us.”