Western Wildcats 3 (Moodie, McCartney 2)
Edinburgh University 1 (Amour)
Western Wildcats had a busy weekend playing their second game in two days on Sunday against a young university side.
This was a must win game in the Wilddcats quest for European qualification, which suffered a blow the previous day when they slipped up against Inverleith losing 5-3.
On Sunday both teams went into the match level on points, but it was Western who started better. The first of these chances fell to veteran striker Scott McCartney who saw his powerful strike cannon back off the cross bar just seconds into the match. Wildcats continued to threaten the Uni goal but had to be wary of the trademark counter attacks that they have. Western then had another excellent opportunity to open the scoring on the stroke of half time when Ross Clunie found himself in acres of space inside the opposition final third, he produced a measured ball across goal for midfielder and junior internationalist Rob Harwood, who is more well known for the chances he creates than the goals he scores. He showed excellent commitment, however, to slide in and deflect the ball agonisingly wide of the target to go into the turnaround 0-0.
The second half started in similar fashion with Western in total control, there was some great intricate link play on show from the dynamic and dominant midfield quartet of Andrew Sinclair, Niall Sommerville, Rob Harwood and Joe McConnell. Finally their sustained pressure paid off when Niall Macleod threw an excellent 60-yard scoop into midfield which was followed up by a great bit of play between Joe McConnell, and up and coming star Rob Harwood who have played together since the under 8s wildcats teams. The two combined to find Commonwealth superstar Ian Moodie who thundered a reverse stick shot from the top of the D low into the bottom corner.
The celebrations, though, were short lived as Edinburgh Uni broke away on a swift counter attack and a slack piece of defending from Gary Maitles allowed Uni in on goal. The finish was faultless, the ruthless striker looped the ball over the on-rushing Sommerville to equalise against the run of play. This mishap, in an otherwise solid performance from Maitles and the rest of the Western back four, did not prove costly in the end as Scott McCartney dug the Wildcats out of a hole with yet another brace to seal victory.
The first of his two goals came from an excellent through ball from Clunie, putting McCartney clean through, he showed great composure, as ever, with a clinical finish to the bottom corner. McCartney then wrapped the game up with minutes to go when he fired a trademark drag flick into the top corner of the net.
This vital three points put Western three points clear of their fellow top 4 competitors and puts them in an excellent position ahead of their top of the table clash against Grange on Saturday, who managed to sneak into Europe ahead of Western Wildcats last season via the play offs.