Bute YFC’s under-15s lost 5-1 to league favourites Stonelaw in East Kilbride on Saturday - but the island team could still take positives from the game despite an away day to forget.
Despite holidays and illness - with a flu bug biting particularly hard - a squad of 15 players made the trip to East Kilbride with hopes of emulating the 1-1 draw the last time the two sides met.
But the game got off to the worst possible start for Bute when some direct play from the home side endedin a fine finish from Stonelaw’s number nine - and only five minutes later the same pass fell to the hosts’ number 11, who finished well to put his team 2-0 up.
Thing then improved for the visitors, who started to create a few chances, and a fine free kick from top scorer Andy McErlean dipped just over the bar.
And a few minutes later the same player got another chance - and this time he made no mistake, racking up his 21st of the season with a great finish from 25 yards which cannoned in off the underside of the bar and left the Stonelaw keeper helpless.
That left Bute trailing 2-1 at half time, and normally that’s where the local boys, who are definitely one of the fittest teams in the league, would be in their element.
But with a few players under the weather, the islanders instead struggled in the second period - Stonelaw added their third ten minutes after the interval, and that left the Bute boys unable to see a way back into the game.
Stonelaw added two more goals before the end, but there were still lots of positives for Bute to take from what was still onbly their second defeat in six months - well done to Jack Reynolds, who made only his second start of the season, and to Myles Allan, Josh Cowan, Ewan Mulholland and Calum McGregor who came on for some much-needed game time.
Well done, too, to this week’s man-of-the-match Niven Shaw, who fitted well into a midfield role. Niven has now played this season at left back, up front and in the centre of midfield, proving he is one of the most versatile players in the squad.
Thanks to Billy and Michele Miller of Coffee Conscience for paying for all the boys to travel to Saturday’s game, which was called off earlier in the season - after Bute arrived at the ground! - because the home pitch had been double-booked.