On a damp and windy Wednesday afternoon, St Andrews’ Men’s Football 2nds put an uninspired Heriot-Watt 4ths team to the sword with a dominant 5-0 victory. Despite a slow start the Saints were able to go off the pitch at half-time with a comfortable 3-0 lead and although they took their foot off the gas a little in the second half, they were still able to seal the win and maintain a clean sheet.
This was in no little part thanks to a very solid display by the Saints goalkeeper who made a couple of fine saves and displayed great calm throughout. Mention must also go to the defensive efforts of Finn Thomson who marshalled his troops at the back with great authority and made a number of crunching tackles and essential clearances. In attack the marauding of midfielders Sebastian Salamat and Daryl McKinley down both wings caused absolute havoc among the defence of the visitors.
However, Heriot-Watt rarely offered much in attack and were too often reduced to hopefully hitting the ball up-pitch in a desperate attempt to break the Saints defence. In a first half during which they were playing into the wind, this was a particularly unrewarding tactic.
For the first twenty minutes, this was not restricted to the visitors in a fast and furious opening period. Play from both teams was scrappy and neither side had yet worked out the value of keeping the ball on the floor in the swirling conditions. Despite this, St Andrews always looked the more likely to score, a feeling exacerbated by some very shaky Heriot-Watt goalkeeping.
Eventually, one Saints attack forced a corner and although the initial effort was cleared off the line, the hugely impressive Thomson was on hand to nod in the opener. With their tails up, St Andrews now began to press even harder against the Heriot-Watt defence and the chances began to flow. Alexander Andreou skied a particularly inviting opportunity and Adom Heron had a speculative effort cleared acrobatically off the Heriot-Watt line.
They were eventually rewarded after a lobbed pass was picked up on the run by Salamat and slotted past the keeper. Shortly afterwards Salamat’s run towards the touchline at a corner dragged the defending players away from their goal and Thomson was once again on hand to prod in his second of the day.
The second half was a quieter affair as the Saints settled down to defend their lead (with an eye already on end of the season goal difference) and Heriot-Watt, despite now playing with the wind, still failed to make any impression. Aside from the occasional weak long-range effort, they didn’t look like they had any idea of how to score.
St Andrews, on the other hand, continued to look dangerous on the break and it was no real surprise when a precise through ball was picked up by Andreou who took the ball on with a strong run before slotting a calm finish past the Heriot-Watt keeper to atone for his earlier miss.
There was time for a fifth, even better goal by Andreou’s partner up front, Geoffrey Taunton-Collins. McKinley fired an excellent pass down the line over the striker’s head and Taunton-Collins drove strongly on to the goal-line before hammering the ball home from the tightest of angles past the startled goalkeeper.
Ultimately, St Andrews were too good for a Heriot-Watt team that showed little invention up front and little security at the back. The 5-0 win was thoroughly deserved as the Saints were dominant and dangerous throughout.