A game of two performances.

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Barely 70 seconds in and Uddingston and their coaching staff (pictured) found themselves 0-1 down to a Hillhead side riding on a high, after their win the week before against Western Wildcats.

It was the worst possible start for the home side, playing their first home game on their newly laid water based astro-pitch, in front of a big home support. The Uddingston side of the last two seasons would have most likely recovered and come back from an early setback like that...but not yesterday.

And when 10 minutes later Hillhead doubled their lead, things went from bad to really bad for newly promoted Uddingston. In short, their performance was one of the worst from them in a long time and completely uncharacteristic of them.

Nothing went right for them – basic errors were being made all over the park, including several passing movements round the back that went AWOL over the baseline and side line, causing unnecessary pressure on a side trying to get back into the game. Frustration ruled the day for Uddingston captain and Director of Hockey Stephen Percy as he constantly tried to rally the troops. Indeed, near the end of the first half he was finding himself reminding - in loud voice - a number of his fellow players, who they were actually marking!

Now in fairness they were missing some regular players, and unfortunately it showed, as the stand-ins looked visibly uncomfortable at times. Uddingston, to their credit, kept the score line to 0-2 up to half-time after severe pressure from a free flowing and confident Hillhead. And they had one very good chance themselves in a rare breakaway attack, but that was reverse-sticked high over the Hillhead bar.

The second half saw much of the same, pressure-wise against, for Uddingston. Hillhead took advantage of every loose ball with wave after wave of attacks. If Uddingston were having a bad day – Hillhead were, without doubt, having a great day.

There’s a new confidence about this Hillhead side – they were first, and fast off the blocks against Wildcats the week before, and they continued that momentum yesterday. Their passing game right now is disciplined and concise; and the second half saw them extend their lead by another four goals.

Striker Craig Paterson was in top form and played havoc with an Uddy defence out of sorts on the day. And captaincy is really suiting HHC man, Matt Macintyre; and he’s looking more composed on the ball than he’s ever looked – and he leads a team that’s maturing more and more – a squad of core players that now have plenty of National 1 experience.

Uddingston aren't short of good, solid experience as well. Veteran, Nairn Scobie, back in National 1 after the best part of 20 years, is an example to all of us – physically as fit as the proverbial fiddle, he knows the score at this level and will be bouncing his team-mates back from their season’s two opening defeats. Stephen Percy still remains one of the best players in the country, and he heralds a new era for Uddingston, back in National 1 after a long absence.

Hey, they had a bad day yesterday – and unfortunately, regardless of how they play, it will possibly get worse today against visitors Kelburne – but, they will soon get in to their stride and get back to winning ways. However, the hard fact is, yesterday saw a game of two performances – a poor one from Uddingston, and a really good one from Hillhead.

FINAL SCORE: Uddingston 0 Hillhead 6

Andy Lovat [20/09/15]

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