Mid Annandale vs Caledonian Braves
Match Centre

Mid Annandale vs Caledonian Braves

W 2 - 7

McNeil Grabs Five as Braves Overturn Two Goal Deficit


On Wednesday night, the Caledonian Braves bounced back from a weekend defeat to Cowdenbeath in impressive fashion, by claiming a 2-7 victory away to Mid Annandale in the Southern Counties Cup. Despite the comprehensive score-line, the game was far from a walk in the park, with Ricky Waddell’s side having to recover after falling behind by two goals in the early exchanges, as a cup upset loomed at New King Edward Park.


Recent signing Bernie White made his debut between the sticks, but almost immediately had to pick the ball out the back of his own net, after the hosts took the lead in the opening 15 seconds of the game. From kick-off, Mid Annandale advanced with the ball before opening the scoring with a superb strike from about 25 yards out, which flew into the far corning, giving the American no chance in goal.


Just minutes later, Mid Annandale won a free kick at the halfway line, which was floated deep into a dangerous position in the Braves box. After a mix-up in defence, an Annandale player reached the ball first to easily head home to double the lead and send the South of Scotland League team into dreamland, with just five minutes on the clock.


The Braves had to settle from there on and took the sting out of game, controlling possession for the rest of the half, without finding the final quality required. Cammy Breadner arguably came the closest in the first half for the visitors with a dragged shot, however the half time whistle blew with the score line reading 2-0 to the hosts, with a cup upset firmly on the cards.


Ricky Waddell didn’t wait around at half time and immediately responded with the introductions of John Guthrie, Luke Main and Zac Buttherworth. These changes provided a degree of familiarity and immediately stemmed the direction of the tie.


Mid Annandale continued to drop deeper into their own half and couldn’t keep up with the passing of the visitors, who found the breakthrough when Butterworth slipped in Ross McNeil, who cooly slotted past the ‘keeper to pull back a crucial goal for the Braves in the 57th minute.


This goal swung the momentum as the Braves pushed for an equaliser, which came from the bright Cammy Breadner, who slotted home with aplomb, after receiving the ball following some neat interplay after 72 minutes.


The comeback was completed in the 78th minute, after a flurry of chances in the Mid Annandale box. After initially hitting the bar, the ball eventually found its way back to Ross McNeil who tapped in to make the score 2-3.


From there on, the hosts tired and the Braves took full advantage in the dying embers. In the 85th minute, Ross McNeil secured his hattrick with a nicely placed finish after finding space through the middle.


A few moments later, Ross McNeil once again pounced onto a Butterworth ball at the back post to head into an empty goal. As the clock hit 90, that man Ross McNeil added his fifth and final goal, tapping in from close range to round off a masterclass in finishing.


However, there was still time for substitute Marc Kelly to get on the scoresheet from the penalty spot, after Butterworth was clattered into by the tiring goalkeeper. Our top goal-scorer made no mistake from the spot, smashing the ball down the middle to make it seven for the Braves.


After a remarkable opening five minutes to the tie, the passing game of the Caledonian Braves ultimately proved to be pivotal, as they broke down the hosts, who put everything into the game. However, Ricky Waddell’s halftime words and substitutions helped open up the game for the Braves, who never looked back once they’d finally made the breakthrough, with five goal man Ross McNeil putting in a performance to remember.


The result sees us advance to the next round of the Southern Counties Cup, but attention will now turn to Saturday afternoon, when we travel to face Edinburgh University in a Lowland League clash in the capital!