ACSC 2, Barnhill 1
ACSC took on Barnhill AFC in the fourth round of the North of Tay Cup on Saturday at Hercules Den.
Having only played three competitive games since the turn of the year (due mostly to the weather), and having lost those games, it was a testing time for the ACSC who were having their worst run of results for a couple of years.
Therefore the priority was to get a victory to stop the rot of the run of bad results. The performance was of secondary importance.
Looking to shore things up a little manager Gunning decided to revert to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation with Smith, Gersok, Graham and Mattheson making up the back four, McCulloch, M. Swan, McDowell and Gatrick in the engine room and Longmuir and R. Gillespie providing the fire power up top.
Barnhill started the better of the two teams providing them with a couple of corners however these were dealt with easily by the ACSC defence.
The home side started to come into the game 10 to 15 minutes in and began creating a number of good goal-scoring opportunities. Gatrick came close twice at the back post after two lung-bursting runs resulted in two headers which went desperately close to giving the ACSC the lead.
It was the ACSC which went behind though against the run of play when a defensive lapse in concentration allowed the Barnhill striker through one on one with Cargill and, from 20 yards, the striker finished well.
ACSC responded in the right manner, however, and continued to force the play. They got their just rewards five minutes from the break when Graham rose to power a header home to rock the goal to its very foundations, a goal well deserved.
Half-time: ACSC 1, Barnhill 1.
The second half was a tight affair. With the ACSC now playing with the strong breeze they were struggling to find the killer ball with the wind carrying it through to the ‘keeper on a number of occasions.
Barnhill were beginning to pick up a number of loose balls in midfield and were finding themselves in good possession in these areas but rarely threatened the goal of the ACSC with their defence looking well organised and holding a good line.
Manager Gunning decided to match up Barnhill’s formation.
He pushed Gatrick into a more central position and promoted Smith to a more marauding role up the right of a five in a bid to restrict the amount of possession that Barnhill were having.
It proved to be an inspired move from Gunning as the ACSC pressed Barnhill higher up the park and began creating a number of clear goal-scoring opportunities.
R. Gillespie agonised when he saw his shot saved by the opposing ‘keeper and Longmuir also coming close from 18 yards.
The ACSC did make the breakthrough with five minutes to go though when Gersok fed Smith.
He played in a fantastic ball to Longmuir who saw his first effort saved by the ‘keeper only to slot home the rebound from inside the six-yard box to secure the win.
The ACSC saw out the time remaining with relative ease to secure the victory and send themselves through to the quarter-finals of the North of Tay.
A much better performance from the ACSC this week in terms of attitude and application.
The most important thing was that they stopped the rot and came away with the victory against a decent Barnhill outfit.
The players should take great confidence from their much improved performance against Barnhill.
Hopefully they can build on this by taking the same attitude and work-rate into the game tomorrow (Saturday) when they face Invergowrie at home in the George Buckman Premier League.