McKenna Pak hosted its first ever match in the “Seniors” with East Kilbride the visitors and the Ants will be the happier of the two sides after a 94th minute leveller gained us our first ever point in the West of Scotland football league.
It is a cliche but this was a game of two sides with EK Thistle taking the better it in the first half, the Ants the more dominant in the second half but the Ants deserve credit for coming from behind not once but twice to earn their point.
It was the visitors who had the first chance when McDonald fired goalwards but Maliska got down well to save and the ball was smashed to safety, five minutes later the keeper was called into action this time making a good save from Riddock. The Ants had started slowly and once again Maliska came to the rescue with 32 minutes on the clock when a cross found the head of Taylor and the young Ants keeper produced a fine save clawing the ball out for a corner. Ten minutes before the break the Ants had their own chance to open the scoring when good work by Trialist B saw him cut the ball back into the path of Crawford but he leaned back and fired his shot over the bar from the edge of the area. In the 42nd minute EK got the opener that on the balance of play you would have to say they deserved when David McKean’s pass saw McDonald attempt to control, the ball hit his studs, and on the way through Crawfords legs hit the right back’s knee and landed perfectly for BLAIR MCDONALD to run through on goal and slot the ball past Maliska much to the delight of the EK committee and coaching staff.
HALF TIME ANTS 0 v 1 EAST KILBRIDE THISTLE (MCDONALD 42)
The Ants changed it up a bit at half time, bringing on Bembo for Danny Smith and changing the shape a little and within 3 minutes of the restart the change almost paid dividends when Trialist B put a good tackle in on an Thistle defender and put the ball in Bembo’s pass but the Ants striker was denied by a good save from Trainor. Davidson then put a dangerous ball across the goal mouth but Trialist A cleared the danger well. The Ants were given a golden opportunity to level in the 58th Minute when the referee pointed to the spot and EVA BEMBO made no mistake from the spot, sending Trainor the wrong way to grab his 3rd goal in 3 games for the Ants and level the scores at 1-1. Despite having most of the pressure and the ball in the half the Ants were limited to shots from distance or thwarted by decent defending by the visitors, who always looked dangerous on the break. It was the visitors that regained the lead in the 71st minute when Diack squared the ball to SCOTT DAVIDSON who’s shot looked like it had been blocked by Crawford on the line but the ball looped straight up in the air, Maliska jumped up to deal with it but missed the ball under pressure from McDonald who appeared to impede the Ants goalie and the ball ended up in the net. A defeat would have been harsh on the Ants but credit to the boys they kept plugging away and Carballo almost equalised with 6 minutes left to play but his shot was saved by Trainor. The Ants threw caution to the wind as they piled on the pressure, forcing a series of corners and throw ins around the Thistle penalty area and in the 94th minute they were rewarded when a Crawford corner was flicked on by Trialist A and EVA BEMBO fired home from close range, racing to the bench in celebration to embrace gaffer Danny Taylor.
FULL TIME – ANTS 2 (BEMBO 59 (PEN), 94) v 2 EAST KILBRIDE THISTLE (MCDONALD 42, DAVIDSON 71)
A hard fought draw for the Ants who now travel to Moor Park to face Lanark United next Saturday
ROGUE MONKEY DIGITAL MEDIA MAN OF THE MATCH – SHAUN GALLACHERR
The Ants got 2020 off to a flying start as they bounced back from the defeat v Maybole with a 3-1 win over first footers Annbank at McKenna Park. The first half wont live long in the memory of many as shots on goal were at a premium, with neither keeper really making a save and the refs whistle to signal the end of the half possibly the biggest highlight. The second half however was a totally different affair, the Ants came out of the traps in the second half looking for goals and in the 52nd minute they opened the scoring when Robson’s corner found KAMIL LESZCZYNSKI unmarked at the back post and he fired the ball into the net for his tenth goal of the season to put the Ants 1-0 up. The Ants lead lasted only eight minutes though when the Ants could only partially clear from an Annbank corner and the ball eventually found its way to MITCHELL EWING who fired a great strike past the helpless Smith into the top corner to level at 1-1. Ten minutes later the Ants went back in front, Robson nicked the ball from Ross and then found MARK WATT with his pass, the striker turned and then fired a pinpoint accurate low shot past Kerr to restore the Ants lead at 2-1. Both teams had chances and the Ants had Greg Marshall to thank for keeping the scores level with a fine header off the line when it looked like Annbank would level. In the 87th minute a long ball from Littler somehow found Kennedy, who in turn found Watt, he flicked the ball to KAMIL LESZCZYNSKI who grabbed his second of the match and 11th of the season by firing past Kerr to seal all three points and it finished here 3-1 to the Ants.
The Ants ended the decade in horrific fashion following a second half collapse that saw them ship five goals without reply, after ending the first half level at 1-1. It was actually the McKenna Park men who took the lead in the 19th minute when KAMIL LESZCZYNSKI netted his 9th of the season when he prodded home Stevenson’s corner kick to make it 1-0. in the 31st minute Maybole grabbed an equaliser in controversial circumstances when Mr Peacock appeared to play on as Maybole had a shot at goal which was blocked by MacKenzie and then pulled play back after he adjudged that Jordan Banks was fouled by Littler despite it looking like the striker had lost his balance and took a fresh air swipe as Littler got his foot to the ball to clear, ANDREW STEVENSON stepped up and sent Smith the wrong way to level the scoring. The second half was like two different teams had come out but it wasn’t until a mad 5 minute spell just after the hour when Maybole took the lead, Banks squaring the ball to ANDREW STEVENSON to grab his and Maybole’s second goal of the game after 61 minutes. A minute later it was 1-3 when Littler fouled a Maybole attacker whilst the ball looked to be going out of play for a goal kick with a man covering, ANDREW STEVENSON again stepped up and beat Smith from the spot to complete his hat-trick. Within two minutes it went from bad to worse for the Ants as McGrory was shown a straight red card for a late tackle. We didn’t have long to wait for goal number four when MARK DOOLAN fired home from a cross that just evaded Williams to make it 1-4 after 74 minutes and four minutes later it was 1-5 when JAI HOLLAND beat Smith from an angle. JORDAN BANKS got the goal his second half play probably deserved in the 80th minute when he latched on to a long ball, having the freedom of the Ants box as he danced across the six yard box with no Ants player putting in any kind of meaningful tackle then slotting home to put the cherry on the cake for Maybole and giving the Ants a miserable end to the decade and made it 1-6 to the visitors