East Kilbride are this year’s Paisley & Johnstone District YFL Gilbert Baird Cup winners, but they did it the hard way as they overcame Giffnock Napoli at Parklea. And, with apologies for an old, famous cliché, it was very much the game of two halves, as they took until a midway spell in the second half to turn the game on its head.
Giffnock had looked comfortable for much of the opening period, and were left wondering where those same energy levels went in the second half. Mirkin Alpine’s goal on 20 minutes came after a good spell of midfield control and indeed Giffnock went on to shade the first half, carving out the better openings.
Cameron Mackey was proving a real handful for the EK defenders with his direct running, and with Gianni Demarco’s strength the Napoli side were getting slightly the better of the one on ones in midfield in the early stages. But, overall there was little to choose between these two sides until the Giffnock side got their noses in front on 20 minutes.
It came from the set piece as Dominic McLaughlin fired in a free kick from the right, picking out Mackey inside the area. He helped to the ball on to Alpine in space and, with the EK defence struggling to close down, the striker made no mistake from close range.
There seemed to be no immediate Blues response, as the game returned to something of a stalemate. Width was missing from the game and EK’s best chance of the half came after fine work down the left from James Airens. His cross was parried out by Christopher Wylie as far as Dylan Collins who couldn’t force home the rebound.
It was a tight half of few cast iron chances away from that. Demarco fired a decent long range effort wide on 30 minutes for Giffnock, as there remained just a goal between the sides at the interval.