ARNISTON FIVE LIVINGSTON FIVE
ARNISTON WON 3 -1 ON PENALTY KICKS
Well I thought I had seen everything in football but this today must rate high on the list of improbabilities.
Arniston ahead four nil at the interval and cruising and five minutes after the restart scoring again.
No way back for the visitors, or so it seemed.
This game had everything. Good attacking football, unlike that game on the tele during the week, terrible defending, spring sunshine, sleet, hail, gale, snow, freezing wind, 14 goals Arnies usual full back Robbie Laird playing in goal and a substitution in the 90th minute which proved a match winner.
The first attack came from the home side with number 9 Ryan combining well with Kyle on the left wing.
However Livingston countered with two corners in quick succession, one headed over the other went harmlessly past. Also a mix up in the Arniston makeshift defence cleared by the ever reliant Tadg to take the strain off our inexperienced keeper.
On 12 minutes the avalanche of goals started. A thru ball from Dougie Cunnison to Ubong Umatang who brushed past a defender to bury the ball past the keeper.
Corners were coming thick and fast for Arnie.But the next goal came from a good run from Mel Graham, a pass to McCallum a lay off to Howitt and a perfect shot cum lob from 25 yards into the net. The Arnie attack was causing all sorts of problems for the visitors defence with the strength of Ubong and Ryan and the speed of Kyle stretching them to the limit. The pressure continued and a perfect cross from the left was finished off by Ubong. Three nil with 35 minutes played.
The visitor’s No. 11 was the only player to cause the makeshift home defence any problems but he could only stand and watch as Arniston went four ahead minutes before the break.
A forward pass from Tadg out of defence found Ryan just outside the penalty box. He found the corner of the net with a well placed shot.
FOUR GOALS TO NIL AT HALF TIME
Arniston started the second half where the left off and a good move down the right, a pass to No.9 Ryan and another clinical finish. Five goals to Nil.
No way back for Livingston!!!!.
Arniston made two substitutes with Murray Hunter and Dean Thornhill coming on.
Around the 60 minute the visitors got what was expected to be a consolation goal when their No.11 fired in a fierce shot.
McCallum should have made it 6 for Arnie and his own hat-trick when right thru with only the keeper to beat, but he shot tamely past.
The weather at this time was atrocious with driving hail and snow.
Livingston was, as Arnie had been in the first half, dominating play and it was no great surprise when they scored another then another the second with the help of a deflection but it was no less than they deserved for their persistence.
Score now 5-3.
A free on their right gave the visitors their fourth goal with the home defence now completely demoralised. With 5 minutes left the equaliser came when a corner was not properly cleared and a visiting forward shot thru a ruck of players for goal No.5.
The drama was not nearly finished.
A shot in the final seconds saw Robbie Laird push the ball past the post for a corner. This was to be his last touch of the ball as, before the corner could be taken and with a penalty kick decider looming manager McNaughton gambled by bringing the regular keeper Stewart Baillie on.
Penalty kicks it was and although not fully fit Stewart proceeded to save two of the kicks allowing Arnie to run out winners 3 goals to 1.
What a game played in appalling weather and credit to Livie for coming back when most would have been wishing the final whistle would blow.