ACSC 0, St James 4
ACSC took on St James in first round of the Buckman/ Mackie League Cup at home on Saturday.
It was the first game in charge for new manager Kevin Longmuir after Billy Gunning’s decision to call it a day after 24 years on and off at the club.
With a number of personnel still unavailable due to suspensions, injuries and work commitments, Longmuir could not have asked for a tougher assignment to take charge of his first competitive fixture with St James currently topping the George Buckman Premier League, albeit having played a few games more than the chasing pack.
Nevertheless Longmuir picked a team he thought was capable of getting a result looking to be organised and hard to break down.
The ever present Cargill started in the goal with a back four of Smith, 17-year-old Brogan Milne making his debut for the first team, Cook and McCulloch.
McDowell returned from suspension to take his place in centre midfield with M. Swan along with support on the wings from R. Swan and new signing Craig Nicoll with R. Gillespie playing just off the front. Pearson provided the fire power up top to complete the line-up.
The opening period of play was finely balanced, St James finding the organised ACSC midfield and defence hard to break down.
ACSC looked to play on the break and were causing problems but it was St James who had more territorial advantage without really causing too many problems for the home defence.
The game continued like this for the first half an hour when the visitors broke the deadlock. The ACSC looked to have cleared the danger from a corner, but they were maybe a little slow in getting out and the ball was clipped back into the box where a striker took the ball down with his back to goal and rolled the defender before slotting past Cargill.
It looked to be heading into the half with St James one goal to the good but with a couple of minutes to go to the whistle ACSC lost another counter from another cross ball from the right, the St James striker rose higher than the home ‘keeper and defender to double his tally for the afternoon.
Half-time: ACSC 0, St James 2.
The second half proved to be a carbon copy of the first with St James continuing to have the lion’s share of possession without creating too many clear-cut chances. Credit must go to the ACSC players who continued to work hard and remained organised.
ACSC did lose a further two goals which again could have been avoided. Two long throws in the box and two flicks from the big St James striker creating a couple of openings in which one was finished by an unmarked runner and another resulting in a penalty after a last gasp challenge brought a St James player down. This penalty was duly converted.
The game finished up soon after with ACSC exiting the cup in the first round.
A second heavy defeat in a row for the ACSC but despite this there were a number of positives for the new manager. The performance was far better than the previous week and the team was better organised and harder to break down.
However like the previous week the home side conceded some poor goals from cross balls and long throws and these lapses in concentration/errors are something that will need to be worked on. With a number of players returning to the fold next week manager Longmuir will have more options at his disposal and if the players maintain the same attitude it won’t be long before they get back to winning ways.