Curse of the Edinburgh City goalkeepers strikes again

Calum AntellCalum Antell
Calum Antell
Calum Antell snaps his finger after quick emergency return

Edinburgh City’s goalkeeper curse has struck yet again after Calum Antell sustained a finger injury in his first game back after a five-month lay-off.

After recovering from a torn abductor, the Welshman was forced into action ahead of schedule against Stirling Albion last weekend when Alan Martin, who signed in early January, left last week to sign for a team in the Philippines.

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Antell’s return to action appeared to have gone fine fitness-wise until he discovered the top of his finger was hanging off at the end of his team’s 1-0 home defeat by Stirling Albion. As the former Hibs keeper prepares for another month or so on the sidelines, manager James McDonaugh is facing the prospect of fielding his seventh different goalkeeper this season, with on-loan Hearts youngster Kelby Mason in line for a possible debut at home to Annan Athletic tomorrow.

“You couldn’t script it, honestly,” said Antell. “I should probably still have been two or three weeks away from playing after the original injury but I had to get pitched in last weekend because it was a bit of an emergency that nobody was expecting after Alan left. I probably cut a few corners to play and my groin was fine through the game but then I went and injured my finger. I didn’t realise at the time what I’d done.

“I tipped a shot on to the post and I thought I’d just staved it, then after the game I took my glove off and found the top of my finger hanging off. I went to hospital after the game and was told I’d ruptured all the tendons in my finger so I’ll need a splint on for four or five weeks. I’m hoping it doesn’t take that long and I’ll get back before that but we’ll just need to see what happens.

“I feel sorry for the gaffer. He’ll be having head-loss over the situation. He’s dealt with it really well and he’s brought in keepers of a good standard.”

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Antell, City’s main goalkeeper, had been sidelined ever since being forced off with an injury early in the 3-3 draw away to Elgin City at the end of August. “It was a long five months out,” he said. “I originally got diagnosed with the wrong injury which set me back. It wasn’t until I went for an MRI after two or three months out that we found out what the injury was and realised I would need 12 weeks of rehab. If we’d known straight away what the problem was I would only have been out for about three months so it was very frustrating.

“It’s been a really frustrating season because last year I played 50 games and didn’t miss a training session and now I’ve only played nine games in total. I’m a team player though so as long as they’re doing well I’m happy.”

City, who trail Cove by six points, host Annan tomorrow ahead of next weekend’s top-of-the-table showdown in Aberdeenshire. “We’re now getting to a stage where every game is like a Cup final,” he said. “We’ve got Cove next week so that’ll be a massive game but I’ve got no doubt we’ve got a good enough squad to finish top.