Bal­clutha charges into strong sec­ond po­si­tion

Clutha Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - FOOTBALL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

The Stir­ling Sports Bal­clutha first XI moved into sec­ond place with a win against pre­vi­ously un­beaten Melch­ester Rovers on the week­end.

This sets up a mouth wa­ter­ing tie next week­end with a game against ta­ble top­pers, and last sea­son’s neme­sis, Tech­ni­cal AFC.

Af­ter a ner­vous start in his de­but, 15-year-old Kel­lan Crowie set­tled into the game well. Melch­ester’s in­dul­gent smiles faded as the young­ster adapted to this level and started to show his class and why the coach had so much faith in him.

The young­ster’s win­ning a cor­ner led to Clutha’s first goal. A clumsy push on Jack Bar­r­a­clough saw a penalty awarded, which Bar­ra­cough con­verted. A num­ber of chances were cre­ated by the team in red in the first half but a fantastic per­for­mance from the op­po­si­tion keeper pre­vented any fur­ther score.

Bal­clutha dou­bled their lead just af­ter the break. Cory Budge’s pin­point cor­ner cru­elly struck an op­po­si­tion player and went into their own net. The men from town scored the next goal with 25 min­utes re­main­ing and this set up a se­ries of at­tacks against Clutha which were re­pelled by our stout de­fence. Man of the match for Clutha was Mzamo Mh­lat­shana, whose fast ac­cel­er­a­tion at right mid­field and work ethic across the park made a real im­pact.

The Windy Ridge sec­ond XI trav­elled to town to play Green Is­land. In a great game against a younger side, the sec­onds twice had to come back from be­ing a goal down and the scores were tied 2-all with 15 min­utes to run. Af­ter Green Is­land took the lead again at that point, Clutha pushed for an equaliser, which led to two quick goals to the op­po­si­tion. For our team, goals went to Mo­hammed Shaiyaz and Cleighton Bunt­ing, while James Rob­son was man of the match.

Sadly, the women’s team lost their un­beaten start to the sea­son. Matched up against the ta­ble top­ping Roslyn Wakari, our girls were do­ing well to go into half time at just 3-1 down af­ter Vic­to­ria de Filippi con­verted a penalty. Clutha pulled the lead back to one goal when player of the day, Sarah Mo­ra­han, scored a scorcher early in the sec­ond half. The team in red lost shape as the game pro­gressed, with Roslyn go­ing on to score more unan­swered goals for the score to end at 8-2.

DAVID JOSEPH / PHOTOTEK.NZ

The Stir­ling Sports Bal­clutha first XI foots it with the big boys.

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