With a full card of midweek fixtures, ACSC took on Riverside at home in an important George Buckman league fixture.
With Riverside having the games in hand on both St James and ACSC, it was important that the ACSC did not lose more ground on their nearest rivals and favourites for the title.
The mood was positive in the ACSC dressing room prior to the match having picked themselves off the floor in the last couple of weeks to turn in some impressive performances.
ACSC started the game well with a good tempo, pressing Riverside all over the park. The first flashpoint came just five minutes after an off-the-ball altercation ended in the referee brandishing two yellow cards to Longmuir and his opposite number.
Riverside created a couple of openings with long balls, Cargill in goals had a great save from the Riverside forward for one of them. Gillespie was then brought down in the box when he got the better of his marker and then appeared to be hauled down, but the referee somehow gave the foul against the bemused Gillespie.
There weren’t many clear cut chances of note in the first half with neither team managing to gain the upper hand.
Half-time: ACSC 0, Riverside 0.
The second half was more of a one-sided affair, with the ACSC pushing for a goal that would give them the three points that they so badly needed. Gersok had a great chance at the back post from a free-kick after he had lost his marker but put his effort wide.
Riverside’s ‘keeper looked a little uncomfortable on the ball at times and was lucky after dropping one in the box that it fell kindly for him to one of his fellow defenders.
Cargill was having one of his easier games but with 10 minutes to go he was called into action for the first time in the half when the Riverside striker went down as if he’d been shot under minimum contact from Graham and the referee pointed to the spot.
However, Cargill made sure the game was not to be decided by the referee and that justice was done when he saved Kenneth’s spot-kick with a fantastic stop.
ACSC went right up the park and almost broke the deadlock when great play between Gillespie and substitute McCulloch resulted in the Riverside defender lunging to make a last-ditch clearance from the line with the keeper beaten.
This time, unlike the first game between the two, the ball had not crossed the line. Then the Riverside right-back got himself stupidly sent off after trying to turn the game into a boxing match. First trying to head-butt Gatrick then punch him after a 50/50 challenge.
Full-time: ACSC, 0 Riverside 0.
ACSC 0, St James 5.
ACSC took on George Buckman Premier League leaders St. James on Saturday in the quarter-final of the Ferrari’s Shield.
It was to be the fifth and final time the ACSC were to face the Dundee outfit, having only won one of their previous four encounters. That win could yet turn out to prove vital in the destination of the title came in the league campaign.
Prior to the game manager Longmuir had some words of caution and advice for the players regarding the movement of the opposition’s potent strike force.
The ACSC lined up again in a 4-4-2 formation, with the only change to back four being D. Gillespie returning at right-back after a few weeks out following the birth of his second daughter.
The midfield lined up exactly the same as against Riverside and the only change up top was that McCulloch came to partner R. Gillespie.
Things did not go to plan for the ACSC, with the St James players pressing them in numbers all over the park and the ACSC players looking slightly sluggish in their approach.
The ACSC found themselves behind after 20 minutes and this lead was soon doubled five minutes later as some of the ACSC players struggled to get out of first gear.
All of manager Longmuir’s words of advice seemed to have gone out the window as the ACSC struggled with St James movement.
Towards the end of the half the ACSC began to come to terms with the pace of the game and created a couple of good openings through Campbell, who flashed a couple of cracking deliveries across the box only for their to be no-one there to take advantage.
Half-time: ACSC 0, St James 2.
ACSC started the second half knowing that they needed to score the next goal to give themselves any chance of getting back into the game.
Unfortunately for them, the next goal came from St James after more sloppy play allowed the right midfielder to steal in behind and fire beyond a helpless Cargill.
St. James added a further two goals to their tally before the final whistle to seal their place in the next round of the Shield where they will fancy their chances against Barnhill from Drain Doctor Division 1.
Full-time: ACSC 0, St James 5.
A bad day for the ACSC with too many players failing to turn up. They have to raise themselves for the final six league games of the season and put in the kind of performances that the supporters have come to expect in recent weeks, starting on Wednesday when they take on Invergowrie.