On Wednesday, 7th October, the St Andrews men’s football 5th team emerged victorious in a hotly contested cup game against Dundee’s 4s leading them through to the quarterfinals of the Conference Plate.
The match was tense as two physical sides battled throughout. The early stages were full of end to end action, with both teams possessing the chance to come out on top. Great saves by each keeper maintained the exciting 0-0 standing for much of the first half.
The deadlock was broken in the closing stages of the first half when in the 43rd minute the 5s’ Captain, Jack Ireson, managed to bundle the ball into Dundee’s net after getting on the end of a cross from fellow Captain, Alex Watt. It was not the prettiest of goals, yet its extreme significance was felt as the 5’s led a monumental match going into the halftime break.
During halftime, the manager praised the 5s for their hard work, emphasizing if the Saints put in a performance equal to that of the first half, the game would be theirs. The sheer adrenaline radiating from St Andrews was astonishing. The 5’s spirit and momentum after their 1-0 lead drove them into the second half confidently, a willingness to win evident.
The second half was much like the first — a rough affair with crunching tackles and unsurprising physical plays. However, to the demise of our Saints, it was Dundee who found the net first. A Dundee midfielder played a precise and impressive ball through to their striker who slotted it in to equalize the match in the 75th minute. Dundee players were ecstatic and passionate cheers ensued to celebrate their 1-1 comeback.
However, the opponent’s joy did not last long as, just a minute later, the 5s fiercely replied to make it 2-1. Again, Jack Ireson’s leadership was involved in the build-up, putting his fellow teammate, Jay Kirkham, through by flicking a goal kick. Kirkham, understanding the chance, finished nicely and placed St Andrews into the well-deserved driver’s seat as the match entered its closing stages.
As always with a one-goal lead, the last ten minutes of the match was a cagey affair. Dundee threw everything forward looking for a chance, any chance, to take the game to a penalty shootout. However, St Andrews’s determination to protect their lead was clear. Crucial saves from Saint’s keeper, Nick Lightfoot, along with last-ditch tackles by centre back, Josh Witzmann, ensured the 5’s kept their lead to win the game. After enduring attack after attack by Dundee in the last few moments, a great sense of relief washed among the players as the final whistle blew. The Saints were victorious.
The impressive victory put our Men’s 5s into the Quarter Final of the Conference Plate. In February, they will play Edinburgh at home for a place in the Semi-Finals, a match many are eager to watch, and one St Andrews students are encouraged to support. For, if a team has shown this much perseverance, victory in the Conference Plate could soon become a reality.
There was plenty of other football action this week, with a mix of results.
The women’s first team won 2-1 against Glasgow 1s, the women’s 2s thrashed Stirling 3s 5-0 as the women’s 3s suffered a 7-1 defeat to RGU 1s. Meanwhile, the Men’s 1s and 2s both suffered unfortunate losses to end their cup runs. The first team lost 5-2 to the Glasgow 2s, while the second team went out 4-3 on close penalties after drawing 2-2 with Glasgow 3s. The men’s 6th team also won 2-1 against Dundee 5s to progress to the next round of the cup. Despite some defeats, there are plenty of positives St Andrews can take away from this week’s games.