The Cubs defence of the Shield ended this weekend as beating Toast seemed so much more enjoyable than finding ourselves in the lesser of the two cup competitions. Unlike our league match two weeks previous where Toast perhaps edged the game, Cubs were well on top in this match throughout and perhaps should have won this game in less dramatic circumstances.
Plans were distrubted before the match with Brebner and Lawrie being no shows and Brownlee Junior and Hagger both having a touch of brewary scents about them. Manager Stephen left himself and Swinton on the bench with a view to a more compatitive midfield in the 2nd half with Mejka chosen the shield the defence behind an attacking line up of Ajc, Hagger, Mac, Ager and Brownlee senior.
The return to 442, combined with the reintroduction of Andy Mac to the wings seemed to be a catalyst for a great attacking performance, with some of the Cubs passing being of a standard rarely seen in Sunday league football. We started well, with Hagger defying his drunk state to use his pace to cause problems for the Toast defence. It was Jamieson-caley however who rediscovered his scoring touch this week with a finish of great quality after good work from Brownlee and Ager to create the chance. Both Brownlees as well as AJC had chances to extend the Cubs lead before Toast snatched an equaliser at the half hour mark. With Ager and and Mejka winning the middle of the park, our opponents attacked down the wings, winning a corner behind the left of the Cubs defence. Marking was poor, Toast were level and the inquest was on to find who never followed their man.
Stephen replaced Hagger, whose hangover was catching up with him, with Braidwood and it was Jamie who gave Cubs the lead in familiar fashion. Good work and closing down on the left from Brownlee and McMillan gave McMillan the space for an opening. The ball ended up going across to the back post and Braidwood, half a yard out, took a kick in the stones to tap Cubs into a half time lead.
Cubs remained on top in the early parts of the 2nd half with the fresh legs of Swinton and Stephen combining to shield the defence and contribute to the attack. Stephen put the ball between the Toast defence and keeper with his 1st touch but Jamieson-caley was narrowly beaten to the ball by the Toast keeper. Andy Mac went close not long after with full back Brownlee and McKendrick both getting forward to good effect throughout. A highlight of the game for me was accidently putting Toast captain Corder through a post too close to the side of pitch as he attempted to counter but in all honesty my subconscious probably made me do it. Prize prick Marty Smith wouldn't even let me help Tom up but ah well.
It wasn't until we went 451 in the last 10minutes to close out the game that Toast really created anything. Corder missed at the back post when he should have scored before Smith tapped in an equaliser, taunting Swinton in the process. Harry made a simply outstanding triple save at the end to deny our opponents a winner before Stephen reintroduced himself, McMillan and Jamieson-caley with seconds to spare before the penalty shootout, with the three of us having devised our penalty plans at side.
Hagger and Mejka were varying degrees of upset to miss out on a penalty as captain Ajc, Brownlee senior, Mac, Ross and Stephen all lined up for the Cubs. Adam confidently stroked home before Harry saved brilliantly with his feet from Tom Corder in what seemed like a meant to be scenario. Ross blindly put his penalty into the bottom left in his usual cool fashion before Toast scored their 2nd penalty. Callum Ross scored his penalty and Andy Mac skittered his penalty pretty much through the Toast keeper in a nervous moment with Toast replying twice with two successful penalties. The scene was set for Stephen to fittingly stroke home the winner against the team he loves playing against the most as the Cubs stretched their unbeaten run against Toast to 5 matches.
Everyone played well this week but a few players stood out. McMillan caused all sorts of bother on the left, both fullbacks joined the attacks well and the central midfield pairings in both halves were well on top. Eggo takes the man of the match award however with a magnificent triple save at the death, much improved goal kicks and another decisive penalty save.
Cubs, Spartans, Carse, Uni 3rds, Uni 5ths and Old Mill will be joined by two of the Nether, McDaniels, KFC and Teeth in a quarter final draw which will have lost some of the biggest names to the Shield. We all know from last season that anything can happen in the Cups so let's make sure we do ourselves justice after Christmas