Townhead Thistle v Glasgow Irish FC
Presidents Cup First Round
The Irish travelled the short distance to Coatbridge for their first ever competitive cup match this Sunday past in confident mood after some great application in recent weeks training. This proved to be a day to forget however.
The game started at a frantic pace with Irish having the majority of the ball. Wasteful passing and some baffling calls from the referee seemed to knock the players off guard and they fell behind when a costly error from skipper McAuley allowed the Townhead number 9 the chance to slip the ball under Griffin all too easily. 1-0.
GIFC simply couldn’t get going and repeatedly poor offside calls from the ref meant the frustration grew throughout the team. Step forward Danny Singh. A cross from the right was partially cleared by the home sides defence and Singh latched onto the ball on the edge of the box. He took a touch before guiding the ball into the corner of the net from 20 yards out. A simply class finish from the midfielder that would set the tone for his performance for the day. 1-1.
The first half seen both sides miss chances and the Irish were happy to see half time after a dreadful start.
The Irish started the second period well and Stephen Cleary should have done better when through on goal although credit must go to the opposition keeper for the save. Another unforced error at the back allowed Townhead another lead in the game as a loose ball allowed one of their midfielders to lob the ball over the Irish keeper. 2-1.
With Townhead shooting downhill and the wind behind them the GIFC had to withstand some relentless attacks and fell further behind when a corner was partially cleared back to the taker and he sent an unstoppable volley past Griffin from an almost impossible position. The one goal conceded on the day the Irish couldn’t complain about. 3-1.
Lewis Maitland replaced Stephen Cleary and brought immediate impact to the game with some brave running at the Townhead defence. The Irish then pulled another goal back when Martin Rice finished beautifully after some clever midfield play. 3-2.
The Irish defence frailties were once again exploited when hesitation by McCabe and McAuley let a Townhead forward through to give Griffin no chance with a lobbed finish. 4-2.
Kieran Nicol replaced Connor Jack and Craig Conroy made his Irish debut replacing Paul Stanton.
Irish then took a foothold in the game with Singh, Cairns, Maitland and Nicol the driving force on the park. Shaun Munro then gave the Irish a lifeline with a tidy finish from the edge of the box. 4-3.
You could tell it wasn’t going to be the Irish day when striker Martin Rice was inexplicably sent off for having a discussion with the referee. A shocking decision at any level of the game.
This didn’t deter GIFC though and they drew level with the last kick of the ball when a cut back found Kieran Nicol who showed immense composure to fire the Irish level. 4-4.
The game then went straight to penalties where Irish would be beaten 5-3.
Irish only have themselves to blame for the result but must be praised for the second half fight back against what could be described as 12 men.
Man of the match for GIFC Daniel Singh.
Pass marks to Stephen Cairns, Lewis Maitland and Kieran Nicol.