SYFA Challenge Cup finals 2012 preview article
Author: Ryan Rowe
That glorious sense of achievement. That contagious joy. That proud relief. Few could have envisaged that the Bonnyton Thistle Under 19s squad would feel this mixture of astonishing emotions two years in a row as a result of progressing to the SYFA Cup Final. However, this tightly bonded group of boys – no, heroes – have managed to make this wonderful dream a reality. And here’s the story of their journey to their second SYFA Challenge Cup final in as many years.
As 2011 neared its end, Bonnyton welcomed Arsenal Boys Club to Kilmarnock’s Grange Academy in the fifth round of the SYFA Challenge Cup. Amidst their league battles they mustered the fight for a superb performance, smashing a magnificent seven past their virtually helpless opponents. Callum Watt smashed home the opener on that day, as Bonnyton dominated the game from start to finish. Forward Craig Patterson added the second and by half-time it was 3-1, with Stuart Walker tapping in. Bonnyton produced a further four goals in the second period as Patterson struck home a penalty before Stuart Davidson and Edward McTernan got on the scoresheet. Mark Logan scored a towering header seconds before the final whistle as Thistle’s pursuit of consecutive SYFA Cups gathered much momentum.
Next up were the quarter-finals, and Thistle showed no mercy as they hit Aberdeenshire’s Apex FC for six in Kilmarnock. In a fairly uneventful first half-hour, the scoreline remained 0-0. That was until Mark Armour slotted past the keeper to open the scoring and begin a relentless battering of their opponents. A free kick was bundled in moments later before Callum scored a brilliant volley to make it 3-0 at half time after a quick-fire spell of pressure, where Bonnyton looked like scoring from every attack. Number 7 Callum Watt doubled his tally for the day to make it 4-0 as Bonnyton controlled the second half. Armour stabbed home his second from a Rodie McMillan cross and then Armour added an assist to his two goals, allowing Craig Patterson to score the sixth. Another effective display from Bonnyton; who were now looking like strong favourites for the Cup.
And so came the semi-final. And who else would they have to overcome, but their league rivals Harmony Row. An all-Glasgow semi-final did not disappoint the neutral and Bonnyton managed to push their way past Row with three goals. Harmony Row had won through 1-0 in the latest league meeting, but Thistle had won the tie before that. It all shaped up to an eagerly anticipated match that lived up to all expectations. Harmony had the better of the opening exchanges until Bonnyton pressed and attacked much like their more usual selves as the half drew to a close. It looked to end all square but the impressive Callum Watt grabbed a brilliant goal five minutes before half time.
Harmony then had a man sent off for a stamp on the goalscorer’s thigh. Harmony came out to a blistering pace at the start of the second half, keen to mount an amazing comeback. However, Thistle hammered the final nail in Harmony’s coffin as the ever-present duo of Mark Armour and goalscorer Watt manufactured the second goal. Good dribbling work from Armour and a release to Watt allowed him to make it 2-0 and put the game almost beyond Row. However, their Glaswegian opponents pushed forward with all they had left, pressurising Thistle but failing to make it count. The next goal would be vital and as Harmony tired, Craig Patterson scored the crucial third as Bonnyton put one foot in the final. The game was as good as over then, and so the Ayrshire lads marched into the final after a string of superb performances. And so the celebrations began...
Bonnyton Thistle’s journey to the SYFA Challenge Cup Final has been deservedly glorious and magnificent. With goal-laden displays, extravagant football and exciting players, the team looked almost unstoppable. Their rivals in the final are Goldenhill, who will no doubt provide stern opposition. As 6th May approaches, much of Ayrshire will make the jounrye to Airdrie to watch their Bonnyton heroes, along with the Bellfield team at Under 17s, who play Banchory. Both teams will look to bring the Cups back to Kilmarnock. No matter what – win or lose - this Bonnyton Thistle squad will go down in history. The team has done Ayrshire proud. Two SYFA Challenge Cup finals in a row is a superb achievement and the players, management and supporters deserve huge credit. Ian Higgins has been a mastermind behind the squad’s achievements. The legendary squad is as follows:
Chris Murchie, Stuart Walker, Graeme Anderson, Andrew Strachan, Peter Wood, Mick Lennox, Mark Armour, Stuart Davidson, Greig Mitchell, Callum Watt, Edward McTernan, Keir White, David Stevenson, Craig Paterson
Good luck in the final boys! ...
And one more thing... #Bonnytonlove