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Shields fires Albion Rovers to Scottish Cup Final

Albion Rovers 6

Shields 2, 42, 84, More 26, O'Kane 49

Arsenal 0

  • Sunday, 10 April 2016
  • Blackburn Juniors, Blackburn
  • Under 19´s
  • SYFA Scottish CUp

Simon Ritchie | YFS West Region Reporter
Articles by Author | Contact Author

Local legend Susan Boyle rose to fame after singing Memories on Britain’s Got Talent, but for spectators at the Blackburn Juniors ground for the Albion Rovers vs Arsenal under 19s SYFA Scottish Cup Semi Final, their memories will be of Rovers’ Connor Shields as the striker scored four in a 6-0 victory to put his side into the final.

Anthony O’Kane and Alexander More were the other scorers in a rout that was one way traffic from the moment Shields grabbed his first after only two minutes. Arsenal looked a yard off the pace from the very first whistle, second to every ball, misplacing passes, and struggling to put together anything of substance. However, while it was clear the Arsenal players didn’t play to their full potential, how much of that was down to the fact the Albion Rovers players didn’t give them a chance to settle and played with incredible intensity right from the off?

Shields, by far the best player on the pitch for the full 90 minutes, showed his class instantly when he opened the scoring with the first shot of the game. Picking the ball up on the edge of the box he dragged his marker wide and then fired back across goal and into the far corner.

It was no fluke and Rovers continued to press high up the pitch, helped by a slack and tired looking Arsenal who seemed desperate to turn every 50/50 into a 70/30 in Rovers’ favour. More’s cross was turned goalward by Ryan McManus in search of a second but the striker’s mishit effort was comfortably saved by Ben Collinson in the Arsenal goal.

Collinson was again called into action to prevent a Ben Cappie free-kick creeping in low to his left.

Set pieces were causing problems in the Arsenal back line as Rovers won every header in the box and they got a deserved second following a spate of corners. After one corner had been put behind for another, More’s first effort was blocked at the near post and came back out to him, after taking a touch to get into a better position he unleashed a high curling effort that kept going until it found the top corner.

Two goal down and all at sea defensively Arsenal finally responded with a couple of attacks. Paul King’s corner was only headed half-clear by the Albion defence but Mark Callaghan didn’t connect properly with the shot and it rolled wide. Then Callaghan’s cross-cum-shot looked to be heading in but for a timely intervention on the line from Cappie who headed it away.

The problem for Arsenal was no matter what they did, Albion Rovers could simply hit the ball towards Shields and they’d get another promising attack out of it. He was simply too fast, too strong, and too skilful for their defence to deal with so it was no surprise when he added to his tally.

It was a breathtaking couple of minutes in the lead up to the third goal with the action moving quickly from end to end.First Shields was released to chase a ball over the top that he fired against the legs of Collinson, sparking an Arsenal counter attack with King’s cross finding Gary Guthrie unmarked in the box but he didn’t connect cleanly. Arsenal had moved players forward to help with their counter and this left them vulnerable to a counter of Rovers’ own and once again it was a long ball over the top for Shields but this time he made no mistake, slipping it under the keeper for 3-0.

McManus should have put the game out of sight before half-time as he twice fired off-target from inside the box, the second effort the culmination of a lovely one-two with O’Kane to create the chance. McManus wasn’t pleased with himself, telling Shields “I’m having a shocker” in front of the Arsenal fans who could only ask themselves “If he’s having a shocker then what are the Arsenal players having?”

  • Half Time:
  • Albion Rovers
  • 3-0
  • Arsenal

The second half was more of the same, with Albion Rovers almost completely dominant, though as the game wore on more spaces appeared for Arsenal to attack, but they couldn’t take advantage of them.

After Kalvin Warren fired over from 35-yards, any glimmer of hope Arsenal may have had of getting back into the game was extinguished when O’Kane grabbed the fourth, four minutes into the half. Shields turned creator this time, with a surging run down the right flank then delivering a low cross that bounced around the box before O’Kane turned it home from close range.

With only two goals to his name by this point, Shields looked determined to get his hands on the match ball and almost claimed it in style, holding off two defenders with brute strength to collect the ball and turn in the box but he was off balance as he hit the shot and it went narrowly wide of the top corner. Then he forced Collinson into a good save at his near post with an absolute rocket of an effort that must have stung the palms of the Arsenal keeper.

There were rare opportunities for Arsenal, good ones at that, as Albion Rovers switched off slightly, perhaps already thinking of the final at the Excelsior Stadium. A long throw from David Coyle found Bonar completely unmarked in the 6-yard box but he headed over. Then Bonar was released on goal by Warren but his tame effort lacked conviction, a recurring problem for an Arsenal side who had been robbed of their belief.

Albion’s talented trio up top almost combined for the fifth. Shields cross neatly controlled by O’Kane and laid off for McManus but it absolutely wasn’t his day and he fired wide.

Instead it was goalscorer More who finally handed Shields his hat-trick goal on a plate, with a corner that found him unmarked at the back post and unable to miss.

With the game winding down there was still time for Shields to make it a personal four as a misplaced Arsenal pass was intercepted by Mitchell Robertson who instantly released the forward and he slammed it home at the near post.

A day to forget for Arsenal but Albion Rovers now have the chance to create even more incredible memories as they reach the Scottish Cup Final to be played in Airdrie.

  • Full Time:
  • Albion Rovers
  • 6-0
  • Arsenal


Albion Rovers
1. James Whyte
2. Dario Robertson
3. Alexander More
4. Ben Cappie
5. Anthony McGlone
6. Mitchell Robertson
7. Daniel Johnston
8. Jack Getty
9. Ryan McManus
10. Anthony O’Kane
11. Connor Shields
12. Liam Dillon
14. Calvin Townsley
15. Aaron McGinlay
16. Gavin Millar
19. Aaron Gray
1. Ben Collinson
2. Ciaran Innes
3. Garry McMonagle
4. Kyle Rafferty
5. Scott Townsley
6. Andrew Hume
7. Mark Callaghan
8. Kalvin Warren
10. David Coyle
14. Daniel Bonar
15. Adam McMahon
15. David Black
17. Paul King
19. Gary Guthrie
20. Liam McDonald
Star Player
Albion Rovers
Connor Shields had an almost perfect game. The Arsenal defence simply couldn't handle his pace and power and at some points he would bully three or four of them out of possession. Although his position may have been on the right wing he popped up all along the forward line to cause trouble to every defender and he crowned it all with four goals of excellent quality.
Kalvin Warren did his best to offer an option in midfield and try to make things happen but in truth it wasn't the best of days for any Arsenal player. They clearly have some talented players and will bounce back better for the lesson.
Magic Moment
Albion Rovers
Alexander More's goal was the pick of the bunch, a curling effort right in the postage stamp that left the keeper helpless.
Arsenal eventually grew into the game in the second half and had a decent spell which included a couple of good opportunities for Bonar. By then it may have been too little too late but they showed the potential in the side that on another would have offered a lot more.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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