Thistle FC secured their spot in the fourth round of the Under 14s Winton Trophy after defeating Byron Dons at Northfield Academy. Byron came into the match as underdogs against a strong Thistle team, but an impressive result for them against Mintlaw BC in the previous round gave hope for an interesting clash.
Byron started off quickly and had a terrific opportunity to go ahead. A quick bit of footwork from Ewan Milne saw him draw a foul on the edge of the Thistle penalty area. Milne took the resulting free kick, hitting it hard towards the left of goalkeeper Jamie Anthony Shingler who made an impressive save, tipping it onto the post. Byron’s Layten Henderson came close with the rebound but a deflection sent it narrowly wide of the goal.
Not to be put off by Byron’s strong start, Thistle replied with a quick goal. Good play down the right hand side saw the ball come to Connor Robertson in the box who finished the chance low into the bottom corner where the keeper could not reach it.
Robertson had another chance as he struck the ball from long range, forcing Byron keeper Thomas Kiloh to tip the ball onto the bar. Unfortunately for him, the ball bounced back into play, allowing attacker Reece Mathieson to double the lead for Thistle.
Thistle continued to put pressure on the Byron defence as a shot from Conor Claire forced a good save from Kiloh, only for Thistle’s Ronan Walker to tap it in on the second attempt thanks to his quick reactions.
Walker got his second goal of the afternoon soon after and in similar fashion. A shot, this time from Robertson, was once again met by a strong parry from Kiloh but Walker was quick to the rebound, putting the ball past the keeper from close range.
Byron came close to creating a goal scoring opportunity through Milne. He showed impressive skill, turning past two defenders at the opposition by-line before being stopped by a strong tackle before he could set up one of his teammates.
Although Thistle looked to be the stronger team as the half time whistle blew, Byron had shown that they were not willing to go down without a fight, meaning that there was still life left in the game for the second half.