|CB||5||Andy Ward (c)|
|13||Derek Moore (Trialist)|
|79||16||Ross Ballantyne (vc)|
|17||Dylan O’Hagan (u20)|
After last week's lengthy trip to Selkirk the Colts would have been happy to back to Broadwood today as they welcomed the Lowland Leagues bottom side Threave Rovers to Cumbernauld on a warm and sunny afternoon.
In their previous win all the hard work was done in the opening forty five, giving themselves a three goal lead to take into the Selkirk dressing room. Having come away with the 3 points then the home side clearly saw the benefit of such a strong start, taking the same three goal lead into the dressing room today.
With top scorer Stephen O'Neill available again he returned to the starting line-up, the other ten positions unchanged. New signing Blair Munn took a spot on the bench along with Ballantyne, available for selection again after returning from honeymoon.
The home side, playing in yellow, made a positive start to the game as they moved the ball quickly over the ground, shifting their guests around and creating an early chance for Selkirk. Good play between Barclay, Oliver and Broadfoot released McIntyre on the right, the young wide man laying down a marker for what his fullback could expect in the first half as he went past him to deliver to Selkirk who saw his shot blocked away at the near post with a last ditch challenge.
O'Neill stung the palms of the Threave keeper as he cut inside from the left before curling another effort narrowly over the top in a similar passage of play.
George in the home goal was a virtual spectator, collecting a few over hit through balls and playing more as an extra outfield player with the ball at his feet as the home side dominated possession. Kirwan in the left back area linked well with Broadfoot and O'Neill before racing down the line to cross to the back post where McIntyre had held his run when he may have driven in for a tap in.
|McIntyre and O'Neill were a constant threat in the opening 45 (click to enlarge)|
McIntyre though was linking well with Oliver at right back and the pair delivered a number of teasing crosses into the box. The home side were also, given their pressure, enjoying a series of corners, Broadfoot delivering some teasing dead balls that nearly led to goals for Ward and Selkirk.
An opening goal was coming and when it did there was perhaps little surprise for the home fans when it came from Stephen O'Neill, keeping up his record of a goal every game. The wide man was clever to cut out a pass from the back into midfield before using fine close control to dribble past two players and unleash a right foot effort low into the keepers' bottom right corner from 18 yards. Another fine finish from O'Neill and the goal that the Colts play deserved.
It didn't take them long to increase that lead, making it two in under 25 minutes as skipper Ward opened his account for the club. A Broadfoot delivery from a corner on the Colts left saw Ward rise above the defence, the keeper blocking his initial header from 4 yards out. Ward though was alive to the rebound, reacting first to blast high into the net first time for 2-0 Colts.
|O'Neill finishes the first, Skipper Ward celebrates the second (click to enlarge)|
Selkirk was next to try his luck, stepping inside his man inside the area and firing narrowly wide with his left. The forward though was a little upset as he appeared to have been fouled as he turned his man, pulled back as he struck for goal.
Barclay also had a better than good claim for a spot kick as a corner from the left appeared to be landing on his head until his shirt was grabbed as he jumped, the midfielder landing awkwardly but thankfully uninjured after taking a moment to get to his feet.
Moments later, Barclay nearly scored. Fine play between Broadfoot and Grant released Kirwan on the left and his pullback was dummied excellently by Selkirk, the ball running into the path of the midfielder with his first time effort flying inches wide of the keepers post.
Broadfoot was unfortunate not to score just before the half hour as he linked well with Selkirk and Grant to race through on goal, not quite catching his effort cleanly from just inside 18 yards with the keeper managing to turn it round the post at full stretch to his left.
There was a third coming though and when it did it was another superbly worked goal. O'Neill picked up the ball on the left and linked with Kirwan before stepping inside and playing a fine pass into Selkirk on 18 yards. Selkirk showed great awareness with back to goal to cushion to his right with a fine touch, Barclay running onto the inviting layoff to curl beyond the keeper with his right into the bottom right corner of the net.
3-0 to the Colts after barely half an hour.
Further efforts came from O'Neill, Kirwan and Selkirk before Threave had their only real chance of the half. Threave broke forward and Kirwan attempted to play offside but got it wrong as the pass found the visitors striker through on goal. With Kirwan racing to get back the striker fired towards the top corner from 16 yards, George in goal diving to his right to make a fantastic save, keeping the score 3-0, which is how the sides went in at half time.
|Barclay and Broadfoot put in another fine performance in the Colts midfield (click to enlarge)|
Into the second half and the Colts tempo clearly dropped as they began to look like a team who believed the work was done and had conservation for Wednesday night's game in mind. Despite their drop in tempo though they still had good chances for Kirwan and O'Neill early in the half before Benton saw a header cleared off the line that would have made it 4-0.
A moment of slackness in the home defence gifted Threave a goal, Oliver leaving a pass a little short for Ward allowing the striker to nip in and race through on goal, squaring to his supporting midfielder who fired past George, who had little chance, from 8 yards.
Munn replaced Grant on 60 minutes to make his debut for the club before Selkirk was replaced by Black for the last 20. Further chances came for Barclay and O'Neill before McIntyre forced a save from the visitors keeper low to his right as time ticked away.
|Grant putting pressure on the Threave attack (click to enlarge)|
Broadfoot was replaced by Ballantyne for the closing 10 minutes or so, Ballantyne getting valuable game time into his legs following his return to the squad with the clock ticking away without anything further in the way of chances for either side.
3-1 it finished, the first half far better than the second from a Colts perspective but the three points move them up to fourth in the table ahead of Wednesday night's meeting with third placed Spartans. The Colts will hope they can continue their form of the last two games into that fixture.
(Pictures by Alex Miller)