Letham 7, ACSC 0
ACSC travelled to Perth on Saturday in the quarter-final of the North of Tay to face an unbeaten Letham side that were heading the Perthshire First Division.
A bus had been organised by the club to accommodate the throngs of raucous supporters the ACSC anticipated to travel for the clash - Hammy, Dean and Dale!
Due to a number of personnel being unavailable due to suspension and work commitments, manager Gunning made a few changes to the squad that had won the previous two games, sticking to a 4-4-2 formation.
The team lined up with Cargill in the goal and a strong back four of Smith, Gardiner, Graham and Mattheson. The engine room consisted of R. Swan wide right, Jones and M. Swan in the centre and McCulloch providing the ammunition from the left. Up top veteran Longmuir joined an energetic R. Gillespie to complete a strong ACSC team.
The ACSC started well and looked the sharper of the two teams winning most of the early exchanges R. Gillespie and Longmuir creating a couple of early openings for the visitors, but it was Letham that opened the scoring somewhat against the run of play.
A free kick only a yard inside the ACSC’s half was floated in where it was met by Letham’s big central midfielder who flicked it across goal to be met by a Letham midfielder who had evaded his marker’s attentions. A bad goal to lose from the ACSC’s point of view.
The momentum appeared to change at this point with the goal seeming to settle the home side and it was now Letham that had the extra spring in their steps. ACSC seemed to be masters of their own downfall when in a replica of the St James games earlier in the season they contributed to losing a further three poor goals in the first half, giving themselves the proverbial Mount Everest to climb to get back into the tie.
In between these goals ACSC still had chances with Smith hitting the post direct from his free kick and Pearson coming close from a Jones cross. Letham’s third goal was a bit fortuitous striking the crossbar only to rebound off Cargill’s back and end up in the net.
Half-time: Letham 4, ACSC 0.
At half-time Manager Gunning changed the formation in an attempt to get back into the tie resorting to a 3-4-3 formation with Gall replacing Longmuir who had moved to left back after an injury to Mattheson earlier in the first half. Letham though had other ideas and killed off the game five minutes into the half taking their tally to five.
The bad luck continued when Graham was sent off for a last ditch tackle 10 minutes later. The 10 men battled hard to try and get even a consolation goal from the game, Gall coming closest for the ACSC from a Jones corner.
Letham showed a somewhat ruthless streak however continuing, to their credit, to work just as hard on and off the ball.
Letham added a further two goals to their tally to bring it to seven before the referee finally blew the whistle and finish the ACSC’s reign as North of Tay champions.
How do you sum that up? An off day for the ACSC? A good day for Letham? Credit must go to Letham who deserve their place in the region’s biggest trophy semi-finals, despite a nervous looking start once they got their first goal they looked the more dangerous and hungrier and worked hard throughout to ensure that there was no way back for the ACSC.
A disappointing way to end their reign as champions but sometimes you have to ‘Man Up’, take responsibility, get the head doon at training and come out fighting next week. The players have no time to feel sorry for themselves as there is still a lot to play for.