Postal ALC-2 v Woodside-2 (Postal win 5-4 on pens) - NoS Cup 1st Rnd - Webster Park - 15/10/22
TEAM - 1. D.Cruickshank 2. S.Carter 3. A.Baxter 4. L.Giulianotti 5. C.Collie 6. A.Clark 7. N.Wiley 8. J.Steele 9. L.Melia 10. B.Webster 11. P.Frampton 12. S.Cotovici 14. K.Dowbekin 15. M.Hunter. 16. C.Reith 17. N.MacDonald.
OPPOSITION MOTM – N/A
Postal welcomed Premier Division Woodside to Webster Park this afternoon in the 1st round of the North of Scotland Cup. Woodside are only 3 points off the top of the Premier League with a game in hand, and beat the leaders, Kincorth, last weekend, so a tough match was anticipated.
The weather in the morning was rainy but the sun was out by the time the teams took to the park and the pitch was in decent condition.
With captain, Patterson on holiday, Collie started in centre defence for the home side. Clark and Frampton also came back into the starting eleven today.
Postal started the game a little bit nervously, and Woodside had the majority of the opening possession. It was Postal who would create the first real chance of the match, though, on 5 minutes. A nice passing move, moving up the park through the midfield, would see the ball played into the path of Frampton on the Postal left. He found himself about 12 yards out, in behind the Woodside defense, but his shot went sailing over the bar.
Woodside continued to press and although they weren’t creating a lot of real chances they were getting in behind Postal, with the home defense looking a bit “square” at times.
Woodside took the lead on 20 minutes. With Postal defending inside their own area, Woodside threaded a ball through one of the gaps, into the path of a Woodside forward. It looked like the player was slightly offside from the sideline and the Postal defense stood like statues waiting for the whistle to blow, while the forward slotted home.
Woodside had a chance to double their lead soon after. A miss-kicked bye kick, from the Postal keeper, Cruickshank, didn’t get further than the Postal defense and when neither Giulianotti or Cruickshank dealt with the resultant clearance, a Woodside forward nipped in to take the ball. With the goal gaping, his shot was cleared off the line by Giulianotti and away to safety. Great recover from Giulianotti, who would go on to have a great game in the heart of the Postal backline.
Credit to Postal, they didn’t let the score line influence their game plan, or their performance in implementing it, and were rewarded, 35 minutes into the half. A free kick into the heart of the Woodside defense saw top-scorer Melia get to the ball first and his back header (off the man-bun) went into the back of the net off the Woodside keeper’s hands. 1-1.
Both sides huffed and puffed for the remainder of the half but there wasn’t a lot of quality on show with both sides cancelling each other out defensively.
HALF TIME – POSTAL ALC – 1 – Woodside 1
It may be hard to believe, but Postal were the better side in the second half, playing up the Webster Park slope.
Postal were winning the majority of 50-50s and it was Postal who were playing the most of any football on show, with the Premier league team resorting to long balls a lot of the time, surprisingly.
Postal would create the first chance, 5 minutes into the 2nd half and it was almost a mirror image of Frampton’s effort in the first half. Again, nice approach football from Postal would see the ball played into the path of Clark, this time driving into the Woodside box on the right. Unfortunately with time to pick his spot he too blazed his effort over the bar.
Against a top Premier side, Postal were also having to defend, but Cruickshank, in goals, wasn’t letting anything bounce off him, Carter (captain Carter for the day) was his usual tenacious self in the tackle, Collie and Giulianotti were composed and Baxter on the left, was starting to feel his way, up the park, as well as his defensive duties as Postal began to smell a cup shock on the cards.
An engrossing match there weren’t a lot of clear-cut chances but Postal’s Cruickshank made a worldy of a save from an effort which looked like it would end up in the top corner.
As the game moved into the last 20 minutes, Clark was now starting to take more risks and would run into the heart of the Woodside defence to try and make something happen or force a mistake.
With only ten minutes remaining of the match the Postal side line were sent into raptures. Dowbekin, on for Webster on the Postal right, did really well to race forward and intercept a ball on the right, just inside the Woodside half. He strode forward with the ball and sent in an absolutely delightful cross into the Woodside 6 yard area where Melia was on hand to prod the ball into the net. Unbelievable scenes as Postal started to seriously believe they could reach the 2nd round. 2-1.
With Postal trying hard to keep the ball (and admittedly run the game down) their hopes looked to be dashed when Woodside equalised with only 5 minutes to go. The referee gave a “soft”, but probably correct, free kick to Woodside just outside the 18 yard line, to the right of centre looking at the Postal goal. Cruickshank set up his wall but the Woodside player showed his quality by bending it low round the wall and into the corner of the net. Good free kick but harsh on Postal.
With no extra time in this tournament, Postal were now hanging on for penalties and were relieved when the final whistle was eventually blown (51 minutes in the second half).
Win or lose, the Postal management were more than proud of a performance which in no way flattered them.
On to the pens. The boys who put their hands up were, MacDonald, Hunter, Steele, Giulianotti, Baxter and Carter. It was decided to leave Carter till the important 6th if needed.
MacDonald up first who right footed it under the body of the keeper and into the net. 1-0.
Woodside scored 1-1.
Hunter was second to the spot, calmly dispatched his pen, mid height, down the middle of the goal. 2-1.
Woodside scored 2-2.
Steele next up and took an age to settle the ball on the spot. Milking the drama for all it was worth. Sent his shot to the keeper’s left and into the net. 3-2.
Woodside scored 3-3.
Giulianotti up next. Calm as the underside of the pillow to gently push the ball to the keepers left, mid height. 4-3.
Woodside scored. 4-4
Last but not least, Baxter sauntered up and absolutely blasted the ball high into the net. 5-4.
The last Woodside player, out of the original 5, came forward, jogged to the ball, slightly paused and………………………………….sent the ball high, wide of the post and into the jaggy nettles behind the goal. 5-4
The Postal players ran directly up the park to celebrate with Cruickshank in the box. Brilliant scenes.
Postal obviously won nothing today, but, it’s by far, our best result since our last trophy win in 2011. Woodside have been one of the best sides in Aberdeen for years and will continue to push for the Premier League and every cup they compete in this season, so for Postal to beat them today is a real achievement for a team which has been re-built (again) this season.
As someone said in the dressing room after the game, it’s the “hope” of results and days like this, that keeps us coming back every Saturday, season after season.
Well done to everyone involved at Postal today, an absolute pleasure of a match report to write.