After weeks of build-up, postponements and suspense, the eagerly anticipated quarter-final perfect for football.
The first half started fairly evenly with both teams enjoying some amount of possession, but as the half pressed on the Ayrshire side began to dominate. Sam McCloskey was looking dangerous down the left hand side and Steven Hill’s skilful link up play was also key. However, real chances were few and far between. Hill had two attempts from free-kicks - one was deflected which made it awkward for the Kilpatrick keeper, and another was saved.
Blair Larmour came close with a header that flew just over the bar, and Sean Mears had a right footed volley skid wide. Kilpatrick’s defence held out well until just before the end of the half. A corner from McCloskey sailed over everyone except David Shedden, who sent a looping header over the keeper to make it 1-0.
Half Time: Kilpatrick FC Under 17s 0-1 Bellfield BC Under 17s
The second half started with Bellfield once again on the front foot. Steven Hill continued to look dangerous, and it was his cross after a tackle by Ryan Rowe that found Sean Mears, however his headed effort failed to find the net. Kilpatrick began to edge themselves into the game sensing a comeback. Their speed up front caused the Bellfield backline problems.
Two glorious chances failed to be converted but from a rebounded free-kick, a Jonathan Dyer nipped in to score the rebound with a well-struck finish. The team celebrated with raw joy at their deserved equaliser. Bellfield keeper Daniel Farren was injured in the melee and had to be subbed.
It was all Kilpatrick now and within minutes of equalising they went ahead. A low cross from the right hand side was deflected in by defender Craig McLaren. Arguably Bellfield’s best player thus far, an unfortunate turn of events leads to his team going behind.
The remaining twenty minutes were even, with both sides committing players forward and tackles flying in. With ten minutes remaining on the clock, Sam McCloskey won a free kick on the edge of the box. He stepped up to take it and hit a low effort to the keeper’s right. He could only palm the shot away and Sean Mears pounced to snatch the ball from the keeper’s grasp and into the net, before wheeling away in ecstasy. 2-2.
Full Time: Kilpatrick FC Under 17s 2-2 Bellfield BC Under 17s
The 90 minutes finished even and so it was to be extra-time. Bellfield’s Andy Hunter went closest in a tight first period with a placed shot from inside the area that was blocked by the keeper. The first period drew to a close and the scoreline remained 2-2.
The second period required lots of good work from goalkeeper Archie Lightbody to keep Bellfield in the game. The best chance of the second period fell to Kilpatrick. From a cross they hit the bar and were thwarted by Lightbody. The spirit of both teams was unquestionably amazing. This was epitomised by Bellfield midfielder Jack Robertson, coming back on as a substitute despite a knee injury. Also, Kilpatrick number 22 played on despite a harsh facial injury.
With five minutes remaining, the script was written. A good cross from Shedden was met by unmarked Steven Hill who sneaked in to score a rare header, sending the keeper the wrong way, which proved to be the crucial winner. The sheer jubilation was evident as players, coaches and supporters alike crowded round the striker.
The last five minutes were tense as Kilpatrick tried to summon an equaliser, but to no avail. The referee sounded his whistle and Bellfield were allowed to celebrate. After a tough match against skilled, determined opponents, they had won their place into the semi-final. They now await Erskine who will undoubtedly provide stubborn opposition. Kilpatrick are a good side, capable of winning some form of silverware this season.