Not many teams travel to their away games by train, but Bafana Bafana are no ordinary team. On a wet Sunday afternoon the small town of Croy finds itself hosts to the much anticipated match beween Bafana Bafana and Airdrie Supporters Club AFC. Bafana are unbeaten so far in their pre season calander, but having won the Amateur Supports League the past 2 season, Airdrie are also currently unbeaten this season and are favourites for todays match.
Having travelled together Bafana are perhaps feeling slightly sluggish from the away trip, but team morale is at a high. Going back to their traditional 4-4-2 formation Bafana decide to err on the side of caution. Looking at the pre match warm up, Airdrie go through their routines with their abundant available squad being watched by their team of coaches - are bafana out their depth?
It certainly doesnt seem that way when the game kicks off, within a few minutes pacey winger Aaron breaks through the defence slotting the ball past the advancing keeper for YET ANOTHER early Bafana lead. It's only a matter of minutes until striker Daz doubles the lead with a similar goal coming from the opposite wing - staking his claim at the top of the goalscorer chart. Almost in disbelief at how easy this is, Bafana continue to threat from each attack as Airdrie's defence offer nothing. This time it is Daz Maciver played through again one on one with the keeper who gets caught in no mans land as Maciver delivers a delicious lob that gets helplessly watched as it lands in the back of the net. Fifteen minutes in, 3-0 to Bafana as Airdire lose the plot with each other. "We're making them look good, theyre not even on our level!" shouts one player - Struan offers an arrogant smirk in return in disbelief that Bafana are being criticised.
Unfortunately this call out from the Airdrie midfielder becomes justified as the game develops. After making several subs after conceeding the 3rd goal Airdrie pick it up a gear or 4 and suddenly Bafana are facing almost a completely different team. The rest of the second half sees Bafanas defence getting battered by the new young pacey forwards, whilst their midfield offers little support or composure on the ball. Eventually Airdrie make the break through, passing through the defence and scoring their come-back goal. A wake up call for Bafana but at half time they still lead by 2 goals - changing to a more conservative 4-5-1 approach. Airdire come out all guns blazing and quickly find another goal with a 30 yard smash into the top corner that no keeper would save. As Airdrie turn up the volume an almost silent Bafana offer little answers - through balls coming close but not quite being completed - and the defence looking shaky. Its only a matter of time until the equaliser is found and Airdrie are looking almost fully in control. With 20 minutes left Bafana push upfield to try get something back but in turn leave themselves short at the back. They battle well but in the end the young strikers find more and more space and capitalise with a further 2 goals. Bafana in no way give up, having seen themselves hit the crossbar once and the post twice, and murphy have a long range effort blaze inches over, Bafana try and fight back, but today is not to be their day. The full time whistle blows - Airdrie 5 - 3 Bafana Bafana.
Positives to take away? They were playing against an established amateur side who are reigning champions and found themselves 3-0 up. Airdrie probably were the better side, but a draw would have also been a fair result - this being reitterated by the sole spectator - an Airdrie loyal. Their first defeat yes, but lessons will be learned and Bafana Bafana can take a lot away from this loss, and carry on to their next fixture. Hoping to enter into the Scottish Amateur Supporters League next season, Airdrie are the team to beat, and by this performance there is no reason why Bafana Bafana can't go on to challange for glory in the first season.