Tom Burns is the new GTSA League Champion! But he wasn’t at tonight’s club night to witness how this came to pass. In his final match Dave Butler had to defeat Dave Houston in order to retain the title but an exciting match finished with a scoreline of 2-2. Butler had only conceded 4 goals in his previous 19 matches whereas Houston had only twice scored more than one goal in his previous 17! No-one had expected such a result. Burns wins by just one point.
Houston opened the scoring after only a few minutes. With a cluster of players around the ball, it seemed unlikely that Houston would get a clean connection in his first goal attempt. But he did. The shot wasn’t a strong one but it took the goalkeeper by surprise and Houston was ahead. Houston now had to show stout defensive qualities in the face of a Butler onslaught on his goal. A goal had to come but only one did before the half-time whistle blew.
The second period continued in the same vein with the occasional Houston foray up the park. Then, with five minutes remaining Butler thrust through the middle of the Houston defence. It seemed, however, that Butler had taken the ball too close to the ‘keeper but a cute little chip found the back of the net. Surely now, the title was Butler’s? Perhaps he should have tightened his defence, slowed the game, maintained possession. But he didn’t. With less than three minutes on the clock, Butler lost possession. Houston, spotting an inviting gap on the right side of the Butler defence broke quickly and after some accurate passing, fired in a powerful equaliser. Butler threw everything forward but was unable to create a further scoring opportunity.
It was a thrilling climax to the league campaign. Butler had completed his fixtures without a single defeat. But it was not enough. Too many draws had been his failing. Congratulations, therefore, to Tom Burns who wins the 43-year old trophy for the first time! Burns’ only defeat was to Dave Butler but it was his consistency against other players which gave him the title.
Later Dave Houston secured a further three points against Fraser McKenzie, scoring the winning goal in the final minute.
There was also action in the Glasgow Cup, once again involving Dave Houston who took the surprising decision to play this match with flats. Houston needed a draw against Ronnie McKenzie to progress. McKenzie needed to win. It was Houston who took the lead and held it until half-time. McKenzie did manage to equalise but not until two minutes from the end. Houston now faces Tom Burns in the semi-final.
The other semi-final saw a clash between Colin Day and Dave Gladman. Day started well but soon Gladman took control and laid siege on the Day goal. Just before half-time, however, Day broke up-field and, taking advantage of gaps in the Gladman defence, fired in the opener with a little assistance from the ‘keeper. There was no time to take kick-off. In the second half the onus was on Gladman to attack leaving him vulnerable to the counter. It was Day who was able to double his lead. Near the end Gladman pulled one back and then an excellent Day block denied Gladman a final scoring opportunity. Day now awaits the winner of the Burns/Houston semi-final.