Creamery Park was the venue for Sunday’s Scottish Youth Football Association Cup Semi-Final and the pitch was in perfect condition as Fauldhouse United and Rossvale Football Club prepared to lock horns in search of cup glory. It was a well-contested affair as both teams donned hearts proudly on their sleeves in a match that would eventually be decided in dramatic fashion in extra-time.
The opening stages were somewhat frantic as both sides looked to impose themselves on proceedings and the first clear cut opportunity came the way of Rossvale in the opening minute. Keir Thomson drew a foul on the left side of the box, allowing Calum Holland the opportunity to curl a ball into the penalty area. The attempted clearance fell kindly for Christopher McLeod who knocked his effort just beyond the left-hand post.
Fauldhouse were perhaps shocked into life by the scare as minutes later the impressive Alex Robertson won a free-kick on the left. Jamie Stanaird stepped up to bend an exquisite effort into the area which dipped over Pierce Finnie and into the top right hand corner of the net. Stanaird’s finish was greeted by rapturous applause as Fauldhouse celebrated taking the lead in an end to end opening to the tie.
Rossvale refused to be discouraged, however, and would have levelled in the 8th minute had it not been for a fine save from Fauldhouse goalkeeper Matthew Craig. Scott Glover’s free-kick was struck expertly up and over the defensive wall towards the bottom left hand corner but Craig reacted sharply to parry the effort.
The tempo showed no signs of slowing and in the 12th minute Kyle Sampson broke with pace from a corner kick, beating three players before being halted by Finnie in the area. The referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Sampson brushed himself down to take the kick but Finnie read the effort, diving to his bottom left to hold the ball.
Inspired by Finnie’s heroics, Rossvale continued in their search for an equaliser and almost had it in the 22nd minute. Thomson found space inside the penalty area but Harris Neilings produced an excellent last minute intervention to deny what surely would have been a certain goal.
Rossvale mounted the pressure and a minute following, Conor McBrearty displayed excellent technique to control a hopeful ball into the box. The number nine then hooked an effort on to the top of the bar with his back to goal.
Fauldhouse defended well as Rossvale pushed for an equaliser but it also took bravery from Craig to keep the opposition attack at bay. In the 33rd minute McLeod and Robbie Brown combined well. McLeod drove into the box from the right and provoked a reflex save from the Fauldhouse goalkeeper low to his left at the near post.
Rossvale seemed to be in the ascendancy and a bit of misfortune seemed to prevent a leveller in the 35th minute. Winning a free-kick on the right side junction of the area, Rob Fowler whipped in a deep ball which was met by the head of Glover only to be blocked by his own player.
Glover’s effort proved to be the final glaring opportunity of an exciting first half that witnessed a myriad of strong yet fair challenges. Fauldhouse perhaps left the field considering themselves fortunate to have protected their slender lead.