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McMasterful performance from Accies keeper secures Cup

Hamilton Accies Inverclyde FC 2

Lapham (og) 49, Corrieri 51

Bonnyton Thistle FC 1

Samson 73
  • Saturday, 30 May 2015
  • Port Glasgow
  • Under 19´s
  • PJDYFL Elizabeth Canning League Cup

Ryan Rowe | YFS South West Region Journalist & Bonnyton Thistle Reporter
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

As the sun split the West Coast sky, Hamilton Academical Inverclyde FC and Bonnyton Thistle FC took to the pitch for the Elizabeth Canning League Cup Final, looking to channel their league and national cup disappointments into a positive performance that would lead to cup glory.

In a close game where both sides struggled to dominate for long spells it was the boys in red and white who came through victorious after a quick double-goal salvo in the second half put them narrowly out of reach of the Ayrshire men who rallied towards the end but found themselves continually frustrated by the Hamilton keeper.

Hamilton started the brighter of the two sides, putting pressure on the Thistle goal with two early corners. The first, from the left side, was swerved in towards goal and was met by the head of Dylan Blair who rose highest at the penalty spot and bulleted a header in the direction of the net. Bonnyton’s goalkeeper Craig Speirs was forced into a terrific save to deny the Accies striker and the flare of the match was immediately lit.

Another free header for Hamilton came five minutes later and again it was Blair on the end of it, almost sneaking in under the bar from a right-sided cross.

Both of those chances came either side of a Bonnyton breakaway that could have put the Kilmarnock squad ahead.

A counterattack down the left wing instigated by full back Andy Hunter and midfielder Murray MacKintosh, with the latter beating his man on the edge of the area and finding a gap to cross for Stevie McCarrison, who was arriving in the six-yard box. The striker evaded the closest defender by juggling the ball away from his outstretched leg but when it came to beating the Hamilton goalie Calum McMaster his half-volley just was not powerful enough and the keeper managed to dive down to the left and grasp it.

Hamilton continued to press early on and carved Bonnyton open on the 12-minute mark after winning the ball midway inside in their opponent’s half. Blair was again able to find the ball, this time with it on the deck, and he cut inside from the left and drilled a shot low at the bottom corner but Speirs turned it wide. From the resulting corner Accies worked it short and Aiden Devine’s right-footed cross from the left wing almost crept in, if it was not for a Bonnyton defender thwarting it on the line at the near post amongst a melee of players.

Back up the other end, McCarrison and McMaster continued their battle of wits. The pacy striker raced onto a through ball and found himself one-on-one with the goalie as he entered the penalty area. The two squared up and it was McMaster who came out on top again, diving at the feet of McCarrison as he tried to nip the ball to the keeper’s left.

Nine minutes later the two were at it again, with McCarrison presented with an opening similar to the first duel. Declan Adam worked the ball to the left from the centre circle and set winger Brandon McEvoy racing down the left wing. He jinked his way past his marker and from the by-line squeezed the ball back to the incoming striker. The ball trickled across the face of goal but with McCarrison under duress from the Accies defence he was not able to muster the required power to beat McMaster who once again dived on the ball and kept his clean sheet intact.

Far from being disheartened by the stellar play of McMaster, Thistle continued to push for the opener. They remained the more in-control side when in possession with MacKintosh being the main playmaker. Jordan Greenlees broke free from right full back a couple of times down the right side but Owen Connelly did well to marshal him from the opposite full-back position.

As the first-half clock ticked into the last 10 minutes, Hamilton came agonisingly low to cracking the deadline – quite literally. Two long-range shots from Blair and Chris Burns smacked the crossbar a minute after the other with the two right-footers unleashing almost fatal fire on the Bonnyton goal. Despite being peppered Speirs remained on his toes and looked to have the second of the shots covered, but the defence were quite clearly rocked.

  • Half Time:
  • Hamilton Accies Inverclyde FC
  • 0-0
  • Bonnyton Thistle FC

Fraser Smith was introduced at half time to try and shore up the back line and bring some solidity to Bonnyton’s defensive play. The plan would work, for the most part; as there was little he could do about Hamilton’s first goal which came five minutes into the second period.

The red and whites broke down the right wing at pace with the ball at the feet of James Siddle.  Siddle danced past his marker and sped with purpose down the line before whipping over a terrific cross into the danger area: in between the penalty spot and the goalkeeper. The defenders panicked as they faced their own goal and the ball eventually fell to centre back Reece Lapham at the back post who tried his upmost to slide and direct the ball away from goal but the pressure from the oncoming Accies strikers of Blair and Riccardo Corrieri forced him into his own goal. There were claims that the ball did not cross the line but the referee and linesman had little hesitation in awarding the goal. It was unfortunate as Lapham had been playing well.

And Bonnyton had barely processed the fact that the shot may or may not have been in when they went 2-0 down. High pressing from Hamilton won them the ball and Corrieri sprinted in behind the full back on the left channel and advanced straight towards Speirs. He sized up the keeper and from 15 yards on the left side of the box he drilled a lovely shot under the goalie, across the goal and into the bottom corner.

Bonnyton initially looked rattle for a few minutes after the double salvo from Accies but began to regain their footing with the introduction of Kris Chisholm in midfield. He gave Thistle something extra going forward, linking up well with Adam and Hunter to form a formidable midfield trio that continued to push Accies to the brink in the final half hour.

On the hour mark Bonnyton built an attack down the left side with Smith flicking the ball over his head into the path of Hunter who broke forward and layed in McEvoy on the edge of the box with a neat reverse through-ball. The attacking midfielder got across his marker but his near post shot was palmed away by McMaster, continuing the theme from early on when the Accies keeper looked unbeatable.

Kerr Samson had put in a fine display on the right wing for Bonnyton without having a shot at goal but this would change as the Ayrshiremen strived for an opening using Samson as the main outlet.  In the 73rd minute, Samson and striker Roy Barr combined with the latter firing a half volley at goal but once again Thistle were denied by the imperious McMaster. Due to the ferocity behind Barr’s strike however, McMaster could only tip the ball wide for a corner.

From that corner, an inswinger that Chisholm swerved over from the right, Samson attacked from deep, flung his head at the ball and watched it smash the back of the net. Bonnyton were back in it.

Samson and McEvoy were the two most likely goal threats but a combination of an outstanding goalkeeper and timing of the run got the better of them as they had shots saved in the last 15 minutes and Samson also had a goal ruled out for offside.

In the last ten minutes Adam, surging forward from midfield, had a chance to force extra time but as he drove into the box he was pressurised from behind and the keeper was able to gather his shot from 14 yards out.

With less than five minutes on the clock, McEvoy went close again after sprinting between the centre backs and drilling a shot at goal that looked bound to sneak in the bottom corner – unless McMaster had anything to say about it.

Fittingly it was a goal kick from McMaster that was the last play of the game as the ball sailed into the middle of the park to a Bonnyton player but they could not break quick enough to force another 15 minutes. The Accies players punched the air as they celebrated winning the League Cup for the third year in a row, beating the third-placed team in the League in the process on a glorious summer’s day that will go down in red-and-white memory. Bonnyton have another regional final on the way in the coming weeks.

Youth Football Scotland: Website Photos &emdash;
  • Full Time:
  • Hamilton Accies Inverclyde FC
  • 2-1
  • Bonnyton Thistle FC

Lineups

Hamilton Accies Inverclyde FC
Bonnyton Thistle FC
1. Calum McMaster
2. Stuart Emerson
3. Owen Connelly
4. Kyle Stuart
6. Aiden Devine
7. James Young
8. Fraser Kennedy
9. Dylan Blair
10. Christopher Burns
11. Riccardo Corrieri
12. Fraser Black
14. James Siddle
17. Taylor Curran
20. Ross Geddes
1. Craig Speirs
2. Declan Adam
3. Roy Barr
5. Kris Chisholm
7. Reece Lapham
8. Jordan Greenlees
10. Andy Hunter
11. Murray MacKintosh
12. Steven McCarrison
16. Kerr Samson
17. Fraser Smith
18. Blaine Swift
19. Lee Williamson
20. Stuart Cowan
Star Player
Hamilton Accies Inverclyde FC
Bonnyton Thistle FC
Calum McMaster's heroics have been well documented but it would be unfair not to mention Chris Burns, Riccardo Corrieri and Dylan Blair. They were involved with just about everything Accies did well going forward, while Ross Geddes also led the team well. McMaster however was the reason Accies only conceded a single goal today. Outstanding.
Kris Chisholm did very well when he came on, as did Fraser Smith. It was Kerr Samson whoever who really caught the eye. A direct threat when running with the ball, his pace troubled the Accies defence and midfield and his quick feet on display led to many openings. He put in a couple of good crosses that were not capitalised on, something he did do for his headed goal.
Magic Moment
Hamilton Accies Inverclyde FC
Bonnyton Thistle FC
Any one of McMaster's saves could have easily made it on here but perhaps his assuring dive to stop Declan Adam in the final moments proved how solid he was all day.
Kerr Samson's header brought life back into Thistle and provided the momentum for their push at the end; not forgetting the lovely cross swung over by Kris Chisholm.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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