1st XI Football v Merchiston Castle, Pringle House

Wednesday 25th January 2017

St. Mary’s 1st XI enjoyed a rip-snorter of a contest against capital outfit Merchiston Castle.

The match kicked off and the St. Mary’s players were all over the home side like a cheap suit. It would be fair to say that Merchiston Castle, fresh from a 4-2 demolition of Cargilfield were, on balance, the more skilful side.

What the visitors lacked in trickery and guile they more than made up for with application and organisation. They were superb.
Playing in the classic 4-4-2 we fielded a tough defensive outfit of Matt B, Lachlan F, Otto K and William T ahead of keeper Will S. The midfield of Tommy D-B, Captain Muaz C, Alex F and Hamish M fed strikers Harris R and Jamie F. Joseph W and Antony dG started on the bench.

Pressing the home side so closely and a number of chances fell to the Green Machine attack as they forced the ball downhill to the home goal. Hamish M looked to have scored on two occasions only for the ball to swing away past the left upright while Harris R went one-on-one with the keeper twice. Tommy D-B nearly dropped a peach of a free kick over the tender’s head but none of these superb efforts found the net.

At the other end Matt, William, Lachlan, Otto and Will looked solid and confident as they easily snuffed out the Merchie attacks. Lachlan launched a number of textbook volleyed garryowens from the centre of defence to spark several St. Mary’s attacks and William and Matt tackled well while Otto harried. Although Will was not called upon to make many saves he looked very comfortable when doing so and cleared well out of hand and off the ground.
Alex and Jamie looked very confident when joined by Joseph W and Antony dG in their respective roles.

The Merchiston goal was therefore totally against the run of play as they bundled the ball over the line in the midst of a goal-mouth scramble.
This St. Mary’s side were not perturbed and redoubled their efforts to restore parity between the teams.

For the remainder of the game they strove to push and pass the ball forward and to win the ball back whenever possession fell, briefly, to Merchiston. They should all be highly commended for their efforts.

I was therefore delighted to see all their hard work rewarded with a well worked equaliser five minutes from time as Hamish M’s shot rebounded off the prone keeper to Harris R who slotted the ball home to send the visiting support (x4 including subs) into ecstasy.

With four minutes remaining it was St. Mary’s pushing for the win with Merchie hanging on for grim death. The ball pinballed around the opposition box before being pushed wide to Tommy D-B who tumbled under pressure from a panicked defender. The ref had a long hard look at the incident before blowing his shrill whistle to end the contest.

Despite the pleas for a Champions League style penalty shoot-out there was to be no winner in this enthralling contest.
However, this felt like a victory.

The St. Mary’s boys should be delighted by their application and hard work and the way that they set about their opponents.
They were of great credit to our fantastic school.

Final Score: St. Mary’s 1st XI 1 -1 Merchiston Castle Pringle House

Man of the Match: Lachlan F; Bossed the defence and launched attack after attack with booming clearances – first rate!

Mr T Rawson

Jules Birdsall, 20/02/2017

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