Well folks, here it is. After four months of anticipation, back and forth jawjacking and numerous warm up games, the big day was finally here. Day vs. Night. All of the promo videos, posters, e-mails and hype would mean nothing now as the ‘Scummy Day Shifters’ and their Twilight counterparts took to the hallowed Toryglen ground with victory in mind. The game itself had already been marred with controversy and catastrophie in its lead up. The venue had to be changed 24 hours before the game due to the infamous East Kilbride weather, leaving the pitch covered in more white powder than Charlie Sheens kitchen counter (topical humour). Out went the John Wrights Stadium and in its replacement came the all-weather theatre of Toryglen.
A quick disclaimer before this match report starts. There were far too many people playing and far too many personnel switches throughout the game that there is an extremely good chance that some of the details in this report will be fairly inaccurate. However, the main decisions will all be here, Dykes’ horror tackles and sin bin adventure included.
The Day Shift were understandably confident as the game neared kick-off. Andrew McDade had amassed a squad that not only outnumbered his opponents, but also the crowd there watching, the staff inside the sports complex and every shopper in the ASDA across the road. The backbone of their squad was full of ability and experience. McDade, Miller, Hepburn and Dykes (forget the ability part for that one) would hold the team together as a never-ending revolving door of players would make up the squad. Amongst them would be Steven Kelly, Ben Mason and the Holy Bowlie Simon Pettigrew, who would be joining us immediately on the back of a massive victory in a fringe sport for old men. Well done Simon. The Day Shift expected nothing less than an emphatic victory.
The Twilight Shift on the other hand fielded their 14 man bare-bones squad, bereft of any real experience and coming off a 10-4 drubbing only 5 days earlier by a team who suffered defeat to ‘NHS Gynacologists Select’ (who, in their defence, fielded star German striker Hanz Upperfudd). Relishing their role as under-dogs, The Twilight Shift knew they had nothing to lose and the backing of the whole office. Henderson switched things up slightly giving Faccenda and Queen starting places while leaving out the ever-present McCarthy, The Hawke and Stooj. After a rallying cry in the dressing room from a fired up Henderson, his squad took to the pitch. After the obligatory photography and niceties, both teams lines up and the game was on!
A bright start from the Day Shift saw the in form David Hepburn popping up inside 5 minutes and stroking home an easy chance in their first attack. The move left DX absolutely shell-shocked and on their heels. After the worst possible start, Henderson’s mind began to entertain the idea of a cricket score.
This could prove to be a long day. After settling the game down, everybody on and off the pitch were sent into a state of shock as the Twilight team actually started playing well, and dare this reporter say, dominating the game. The midfield of Coll, Spalding and Connelly were eager to get on the ball, and used it well when they got near it. The twinkle toes of Pete Coll made some of the Day Shifters look very pedestrian indeed as they proved themselves far too eager to dive in. The Twilights first real chance came from an unlikely source as Henderson leathered a 25 Yard volley goalward. Sadly for Henderson, Dougie Cheesecake had his oven mits in the right place at the right time and tipped it over for a corner. While they tried to fight their way back into the game, the Twilighters found themselves higher and higher up the pitch, bringing the game to their opponents. This would lead to them being caught out in a few occasions, but it looked like the Day Shift strikers forgot their shooting boots this afternoon as Jay Goldsmith and Ben Mason would miss a couple of guild edged chances that surely would’ve put the game beyond D-Genelateteam-X. D-X managed to keep frustrating the Dayshifters by playing a stringent offside trap and moving the ball about well in the middle of the park. Henderson had another chance with a free kick which resulted in a passback to big Dougie.
Speaking of Big Dougie, his kicks gave his team something to think about. Unconventional to say the least, he very nearly laid up a goal on a platter for Faccenda on more than one occasion. Would the Twilighters be rueing these missed chances after 90 minutes?
Finally, an equaliser came. Pete Coll stepped up to a free kick after being fouled by…well I don’t remember but id be willing to bet it was Dykes. Unless he was in the Sin Bin at this point which Is a distinct possibility. Coll supplied a finish that was fitting of this grand occasion to tie the game half an hour in. We were all square.
Up the other end, Jay Goldsmith managed one of the misses of the year which prompted the cry of “TAXI!” from the twilight bench. The day shifters utilized their ridiculous squad numbers by making the first in a series of changes just after the half hour mark – a change which reaped an immediate reward. David Hepburn, once again, managed to find himself clean through and finished in his own inimitable style, capping off the goal by a shocking attempt at a front flip not befitting of his chunky demeanour.
Back behind, the Twilighters continued to have more of the ball, but missed chances by Richard Queen and Flavio Faccenda left them walking in at half time a goal down. Fraser McNicol in goals was having a busy one, but was showing signs of his former glory which left him dubbed “The Rolly Goalie”. The day shift were certainly not getting the walkover that they expected, and despite holding a narrow lead, they couldn’t claim to be the dominant team. It was a fantastic, end to end 45 minutes of football, but this game was just heating up.
The start of the second half was a tense one. The Day Shift were holding onto their lead and DX were hoping to continue on with this great performance and get something out of the match. Flavio Faccenda and Richard Queen – while both in the midst of good performances – were sacrificed for the fresh legs of Stooj Stooj and Anthony McCarthy. The Day Shift, well, they made changes I’m sure, but I cant really go into specifics. Early in the second half, after a period of pressure from the Daybreakers, DX managed to burst forward and found themselves with a free kick in a decent position. The ball whipped in by Mark Spalding was eventually met by Owen Connelly, completely mis-hitting the shot right at the goalkeeper for an easy, textbook sa….WAIT…Hes fumbled it, its in, its in. Clanger from The Blunderbaker as the ball ends up in the back of the net to even up the match at 2-2 at the hour mark.
Henderson decided he had seen enough of himself doing very little on the right wing and brought on the avian Johnny Hawke to take his place. Round about this point we had our Kev Keenan Kameo, where in ten minutes he missed a sitter, fell over and got his pecs out. Eventful. As the Day Shift subs kept rolling we seen the introduction of Big Al Mitchell – originally ruled out by injury – into the ruckus. This gave a measure of respite to Andy Dykes, who had been commanding at the back throughout the first half. The remainder of the second half was largely uneventful as this tense cauldron boiled up to what was promising to be a thrilling finale. Would D-GeneLateTeam-X be able to hold on long enough to pull out a result that absolutely nobody was expecting? With the game Fraser McNicol was having, they had to fancy their chances in a penalty shootout. Would they be able to pull off the upset of the millennium?
After a period of sustained pressure and seemingly corner after corner, the towering bo….actually, ill get to that in a minute. Firstly, lets set a scene here.
2-2, game poised, 10 minutes to go. The substitution is made, here comes the man who’s name is on everyones lips. Simon Pettigrew. Simon. Pettigrew. No more than two minutes after he gets the nod does he find himself clean through and one on one with the keeper after darting…no that’s not the right word…waddling? Gliding? Skidding? Whatever. He got away from tall replacement left back Steven Baird (on to replace the impressive Willie Pettigrew) and had his chance at glory. Goalkeeper Fraser McNicol had been quoted as saying
“If Saz scores the winner I will retire from football, cry, be sick on myself and never talk to anyone again” while loving father Willie Pettigrew added “if he scores the winner he better not come home tonight”.
Time seemed to stop for a moment. Everyone held their breath collectively…and…tipped over the bar by McNicol. The world is just.
Pettigrew denied his moment by another moment of brilliance from the man between the sticks. However, all of his heroics were undone by a nod of the ever-growing noggin of Andy Dykes with but a few minutes to go. DX Hearts broke all around the world as Dykes renewed a long-standing rivalry with Owen Connelly and done ‘The Broony’ right in front of him. Henderson called for desperation tactics and threw Craig Anderson up top in a last ditch effort to take something from the game, but moments later it was game over for DX as David Hepburn managed to seal a hat-trick and the victory to make it 4-2. Stuart Thomson missed a late header to bring it back to 4-3, but it was all over. As the final whistle went, the DayBreakers picked up the expected result in a widely unexpected manner.
DX left with their heads held high and knew that on another day, this could’ve been thiers. Rumblings of a rematch have already begun and a late June timeslot is being considered. On this day however, the Day Shift would reign victorious. The real winner here, however, was friendship and football. And charity too I suppose.
Official Match Ratings
Fraser McNicol – 10 – Man of the Match. Outstanding.
Jordan Kane – 8 – Great first half at right back. Never got as involved in the second half.
Dean Hickey – 7 – Classic dean. Comedy, Heriocs, Bambi on Ice, Ridiculous lunges.
Craig Anderson – 9- Solid, solid display. Great addition to the squad.
Willie Pettigrew – 7- Done himself proud in what could be his last match.
Owen Connelly -7- Got the goal and had a lively first half.
Mark Spalding – 8 – Brilliant first half. Great delivery from set plays.
Flavio Faccenda – 7- Looked lively up front, made a good few chances. Couldn’t convert, but a good showing.
Richard Queen – 7- Good first half, good vision. Good hair.
Gary Henderson – 6 – If that volley had went in….
Steven Baird – 5- Beat for pace by Saz.
© EK Milan 2015. All rights reserved.