|27th August 2016||15:00||Ferrari Packaging Lowland League||2016-17|
|Civil Service Strollers FC||3||Loss|
Shire helped themselves to seven first half goals in an extraordinary 8-3 Lowland League win over Civil Service Strollers at Christie Gillies Park in Edinburgh.
John Sludden’s men were in unstoppable form in attack, scoring their entire first period haul in the space of just 33 minutes. David Grant helped himself to a hat-trick in the space of 19 minutes, doubling his tally for the season to six.
But they could not feel as comfortable as they ought to have done after conceding three goals to a home team who battled right to the finish.
The second half, as inevitably always seems to be the way, was a far more subdued affair with Grant’s fourth goal, after 66 minutes, the only time the ball hit the back of the net.
The Shire coach named the same starting eleven that had beaten Hawick Royal Albert seven days earlier and how they must have hoped, before kick-off, that they could emulate the start in the previous week’s game, when Shire had led 2-0 after 10 minutes.
It’s said lightning never strikes twice but no-one seemed to have mentioned that to Shire as, for the second week running, they had a 2-0 advantage by the time the game reached the twelve minute mark.
After six minutes Paul Sludden’s long ball out of defence was picked up by David Grant who led the Strollers defence on a merry dance before unleashing a right-footed shot high into the far top corner of the net.
Six minutes later Dean Shaw’s long clearance was flicked on by Andy Rodgers into Grant’s path and he hit a left-footed shot past the keeper from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.
But Shire were un-nerved after 15 minutes when Shaw’s casual attempt at clearing Jamie Glasgow’s back pass was charged down by Matthew Cunningham to pull a goal back.
Barely a minute later, though, Shire had restored a two goal lead when Glasgow curled one in at the far corner with a great shot from the left edge of the penalty box and, after 19 minutes, David Grant turned goal provider with a cross from the right which Glasgow volleyed home with a flourish.
However, the defensive unease persisted and barely a minute after going 4-1 behind the home team had reduced the leeway to two goals with a nice finish from Steven Frode from just inside the box.
Straight from the re-start Glasgow ought to have had his hat-trick but he was denied by a fingertip save from the Strollers keeper. But, after 24 minutes, it was 5-2 when Rodgers’ ball in behind the home defence was pounced on by Grant who completed his hat-trick with a fine strike.
After 28 minutes it was 6-2 to the visitors. Again Grant did the spadework with a great run down the right wing and this time a low cross which was bundled over the line from close range by the unmarked Paul Sludden in the centre.
The scoring could not keep going at that rate and there was some brief respite but Shire hit a seventh on 39 minutes, a wonderful, flowing move of multiple passes which ended with Andy Rodgers firing the ball high into the net from six yards.
The back door, though, was more than just ajar. After 41 minutes Chris Millian headed home Strollers third goal.
After ten first half goals the likelihood was, once both team’s coaches had got hold of their teams during the interval, that the fans’ fun was going to come to a stop.
To be fair to Strollers they made a positive start to the second half but never created a really serious clear cut scoring chance.
There was real concern for Shire after 54 minutes when keeper Dean Shaw was laid out for at least five minutes after being clattered as he came to collect a corner. He couldn’t continue and was replaced by Darren Dolan.
The Shire substitute keeper watched a couple of headers from set pieces fly over his bar and made a couple of routine saves but by the closing quarter the game had petered out almost totally.
After 66 minutes Glasgow’s cross found David Grant in the centre and although his initial shot hit the underside of the crossbar he moved smartly to head the loose ball over the line for the eighth.
CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS : Burnside, Milligan, Dingwall, Laird(Milven 46), Turnbull, Cunningham, Brown(Boyle 75), Martin(Crane 75), Frode, Finnie, Newhall.
SHIRE : Shaw(Dolan 55), MacGregor, Murray, A. Grant, Greene, Faulds(Hogg 66), Rodgers, Ure, D. Grant(McMillan 75), Sludden, Glasgow
|Civil Service Strollers|
|25 Marine Dr, Edinburgh EH4 5EJ, UK|