|CB||5||Andy Ward (c)|
With Saturday's heavy defeat and poor performance fresh in the memory the Colts didn't have to wait long for the opportunity to put things right, welcoming Gretna2008 to Broadwood under the lights for this midweek Lowland League encounter.
Four changes in the home lineup with Ballantyne, Pirrie, Ramsay and Davidson making way for the return of skipper Ward, Barclay, Kirwan and in starting in central midfield for the first time forward Black.
From the off it was clear Colts had a point to prove, to a man the intensity of their pressing game excellent and the tempo of their passing when winning the ball leaving the visitors struggling to figure out how to get out. The movement from middle to front was also hugely impressive, the Colts 3 in midfield dictating the game.
And the homes ide had the ball in the net early, Hunter breaking beyond the Gretna defence and squaring for O'Neill to tap home in only 5 minutes, only the late flag of the near side linesman keeping the scores even.
They were not that way for long though as the Colts took the lead on 10 minutes. Broadfoot played to Kirwan at left back and the fullback cut inside, lifting a ball over the head of the near side Gretna centre back into the path of Selkirk's run. Selkirk did brilliantly to hold of the attention of the other central defender and take a wonderful first touch on his though around the outrushing keeper, slotting back beyond him with his left into the net for 1-0.
Gretna, neat and tidy in possession nearly managed to fashion a chance for an equaliser but Duncan snuffed out the low cross from the left before any real danger presented, allowing the Colts to further their advantage on 16 minutes. More fine play on the right between Duncan, Broadfoot and Hunter led to a ball played into the run of Barclay who had gone beyond the defence. The midfielder took a fine touch before delivering a whipped cross to the head of Selkirk who used the pace on the ball to direct his header into the back of the net off the underside of the crossbar. Another excellent Colts goal.
It was nearly 3 just beyond 20 minutes as Kirwan struck from distance with his right, the keeper gathering cleanly. O'Neill fired a free kick narrowly over the top before testing the palms of the keeper again as he cut in from the left to curl towards goal. And Hunter was foiled by the keeper as he found himself through on goal after a good move on the right hand side involving Duncan and Black.
Equally as impressive as their play on the ball and high pressing was the defensive display of the back four, clearly defending as a priority with Oliver and Ward giving the Gretna forwards a tough time on any ball the came forward, to feet or in the air. In fact the Colts third goal was as a direct result of this strong defensive play.
A long ball forward from the Gretna keeper saw Ward rise superbly to head forward above the striker, the ball dropping over the head of the last defender and into the path of the pacey O'Neill. O'Neill, perhaps sensing that Selkirk had levelled with him at the top of the goal charts with his two earlier strikes, let the ball bounce once and from 25 yards hit a first time dipping volley with his left that rocketed into the net beyond the keeper for 3-0.
Just past the half hour and the Colts, going from a game in which they were as poor as they have been all season to a game where they were as good as they have been all season!
Further chances came and went but their impressive display saw them go in three goals to the good at half time.
Into the second half and the first 10 minutes or so followed the same pattern as the first, Colts pressing the game superbly and creating chances, O'Neill heading a Black cross over the top before heading a superb Duncan delivery just wide from 6 yards at the back post.
The forward was to get his second though and when it came it was another fine finish. Kirwan met the long ball forward and headed beyond the Gretna fullback, Selkirk making it awkward for the centre back who saw the ball bounce over his head, O'Neill throwing out his right leg to lift over the outrushing keeper from a tight angle for 4-0.
As the tempo and pressing game dropped off a little just after the hour the impressive Black was replaced by Munn as his calves started to cramp, the game well won. And Munn nearly added a fifth but saw his shot cannon back off Selkirk!
The one disappointing moment of the evening will have been conceding a soft goal from a free kick, Kirwan booked for a foul on the Colts left. A low ball across goal met by the Gretna player at the near post, turning home from 6 yards unchallenged. The away sides only clear chance of the evening and they took it well, but Colts will be frustrated at how they defended the situation, allowing the ball across the front to come in far too easily.
On 75 minutes Selkirk had a great chance to take the matchball home, finding himself played clean through on goal from midway inside the Gretna half. Caught in two minds though the forward tried to round the keeper, giving the defender enough time to get back and make the tackle, doubly frustrating as he picked up a knock and had to come off.
So, Selkirk replaced by McDonald and Ramsay coming on for Kirwan as the Colts saw the game out for a comfortable 4-1 win, the first half in particular hugely impressive on the back of their poor display against Edinburgh University at the weekend. Results on the night mean the Broadwood men jump back into fourth, with games in hand over East Kilbride and Edinburgh University, Whitehill closing the gap to four with one game in hand themselves.
The home side will be hoping for a similar performance and result as the sides meet again at Raydale on Saturday.