Friday, 25 November 2016

Second stage of the Scottish circuit for Bennett

STFA Circuit 2.4, Sunday 20 November 2016.

Sunday 20 November 2016 and it is freezing outside as players converge on Glasgow to compete at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew.

A few notable absentees on the day but that didn't affect the players who did make it!
Group 1: Gareth Christie, Rob Conway and John Halpin.
Group 2: Steve Bennett, Dave Baxter and Baver Bari.
Group 3: Malcolm Lees, Andy Beskaby and Tom Burns.
Group 4: Colin Berry, John Mathieson, Craig Thom and Dave Minty.

Group 1 
opener was Christie v Conway and this was an unbelievable game!
Conway hustled and harried Christie throughout this game and made life extremely tough for his opponent, so much so he took the lead early in the second half, a lightning strike to stun Gareth.
Christie was finding things tough going, we are beginning to see a resurgence with Conway's game of late but Christie dug in deep and got a foothold in the match and started to put pressure on and it paid off midway through the second half with a well worked deflection shot from the corner of the shooting area and over the keeper into the far corner.
The game ended 1-1 and heartbreak for Conway.
John Halpin and Rob Conway fought out a tough 1-1 draw, in the end it was probably a fair result given the past history between these two. The draw turning out to be beneficial to Conway.
The final game of the group saw Halpin giving Christie a real run for his money and this one ended with a bit of a disagreement between Halpin and the referee, but to no avail and it ended Christie 2-0 Halpin.
Christie in top spot with Conway's two draws gaining him second spot, Halpin aggrieved at finishing third in the group!

Group 2
pitched Steve Bennett starting off his day against Baver Bari. This final score line should have been a lot different if Baver had scored his two early chances which saw Bennett a bit lax in defence. Bennett eventually woke up and scored all four of his first four attacks, the game ended rather one sided at 8-0.
Next game was Baxter v Bari and a wee shock in store for the Dundonian as he conceded all three of Bari's efforts and lost it 3-2.
Dave's next game was against fellow Dundonian, Bennett.
As far as recent games have gone between these two it was another tight battle only to be won 3-1 by Steve, a brilliant consolation goal scored by Dave late in the second half.
Congratulations to Baver on finishing second in the group!

Group 3
was clearly the group of death, but for who!
As it turns out it was for Andy Beskaby as he lost his opener 3-1 to Malcolm Lees who would later appear in the final and a 2-0 loss to Tom Burns would see Andy not progressing from the group which is uncharacteristic for Beskaby!
Honours for top spot were won by Malcolm Lees in a tight and challenging 2-1 victory over fellow GTSA player, Tom Burns, a result that clearly was one that Tom wanted to win!

Group 4
was surely going to be Colin Berry's come the end of his three games and he didn't disappoint.
In the GTSA derby he got the better of Mathieson albeit by a solitary goal in a 1-0, Mathieson improving all the time.
The DUTFC derby between Craig and Dave saw Craig victorious in a 2-1 opener.
Thom failed to keep the winning formula as he went down 1-0 to Mathieson and after another close battle he went down 1-0 to Berry, this result securing a 9 point total for Berry!
Dave Minty playing in only his second STFA event lost 4-0 to Berry and 2-0 to Mathieson, not a bad start for the new player!

The Quarter Finals
saw Christie edge out Burns 2-1 in a very hard fought game, one that Tom felt aggrieved not to have drawn level at half time only to lose out by a second as the ball crossed the line after the whistle.
Steve Bennett had it fairly easy as he racked up a 7-0 against John Mathieson, that said John certainly improving!
Probably the most enthralling game in this round was Conway v Lees as this one ended up at 1-1 after extra time and saw Lees go behind on shots only to recover and win on shots 2-1.
In the remaining match it was Colin Berry who overcame a brave battle against Baver Bari with a 3-2 victory, a great performance by Baver seeing him run his clubmate close!

Semi Finals
and Malcolm Lees made short work of Colin Berry with a thumping 7-0 victory to take him into the final but against whom, Christie or Bennett?
This second semi final was as close as these two have played out a game in recent times but this one was a defensive and midfield battle for supremacy!
There weren't many attempts at all on either players goals such was the defending, but a well placed strike midway through the first half was it, a final score of 1-0, tight again!

The Final
and Malcolm Lees is thirty minutes from his first circuit victory!
The first half was fairly tight with both players going end to end and Steve's defence a pale shadow of the way he played in the semi final but he went in at half time with a deflected goal over the keeper.
The second half was however a more polished half by both players but perseverance paid off for Steve as he scored another two before Malcolm gifted a fourth by losing it with his spare keeper, Steve finished that with one touch but near the end Malcolm got on the scoreboard with a cracking goal but in the end it was not enough.
Result: Bennett 4-1 Lees

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