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Five-star Glenvale glide to final victory over Airdrieonians

Glenvale AFC 5

Connor 1, 40, McColl 64, 72, Crooks 80

Airdrieonians 0

  • Sunday, 04 June 2017
  • Petershill Park
  • Under 15´s
  • West Region Cup

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

Glenvale must have prepared for this West Region Cup final by collectively watching Real Madrid’s 4-1 demolition of Juventus in the Champions League final the night previous. The Paisley side ran out 5-0 winners and proved to be a class above Airdrieonians, and they too had a talismanf figure to thank for a brace, in the form of Brian Connor.

In contrast to the mild Cardiff evening football’s current elite battled under, this clash of western Scotland’s finest youths was a duel in the sun, and its rays split through the clouds like Glenvale splitting open the Airdrie defence in the first minute.

The Lanarkshire outfit kicked off but surrendered possession far too easily and their opponents duly pounced. Cameron Crooks spotted the run of his strike partner 25 yards from goal, sticking the ball in between the full back Callum Guthrie and centre half Taylor Lindsay to the path of Connor.

The quick-footed forward nipped in front the on-rushing Jay McCarron in goal to poke the ball into the net. Vale couldn’t have asked for a better start but within another two minutes they were very nearly two goals to the good; Connor shuffled the ball out from under his feet at the left corner of the box and evaded the challenges of three defenders, only to drag his shot wide of the near post.

Airdrie’s first chance came through a decent bit of link up play between Blair Cole and Kai McKillop, and if not for a bit of undue hesitation by McKillop they could have equalised.

Cole ran at the middle of the Glenvale defence, delaying his pass as McKillop curved his run on the outside, before slipping him in at the last second as he approached the box.

McKillop’s first touch set up the space for a shot but he elected to cut back, and the Glenvale defence piled bodies back to thwart the route to goal. McKillop passed the buck to his team-mate but Cole had his shot blocked, and then the responsibilities lay with McKilop again.

This time he did pull the trigger and the Airdrie fans came off their seats in expectation as the powerful shot zeroed in on goal, but Aidan McMahon produced a great save from the point-blank range.

The game entered a lull for the next ten minutes, with neither side threatening each other’s goal. When Glenvale’s Cameron Crooks won a free kick in a dangerous area just to the left hand side of the box, Declan Curran stepped up and arrowed the ball towards the far top corner with his laces but it narrowly skimmed the top of the bar and that was the closest anyone came to scoring.

Kyle McLaughlin had two pot shots from distance saved comfortably by McCarron while at the other end, McMahon had to be alert to be equal to Callum Drummond’s low shot, with the tall forward drilling it to the near post.

Glenvale showed their cutting edge again on the stroke of half time and it was that man Connor again fulfilling the goalscoring duties. Again it was Crooks who played him through and it was in a similar position to his first, about 20 yards out.

This time McCarron opted to stay on his line initially but as Connor dinked the ball over the foot of Skiffington with his first touch and bore down on goal, eventually the keeper had to make a decision. He slid out at Connor’s feet but the Vale hero coolly and effortlessly swerved around him and tucked the ball into the net with his left foot.

  • Half Time:
  • Glenvale AFC
  • 2-0
  • Airdrieonians

The second half began in much the same way the majority of the first half played out, with long periods of inactivity in front of goal, but for a fizzer of a shot from Airdrie’s Cole that whistled over the bar.

The game was starting to become a bit of a midfield battle, with Glenvale enjoying slightly more possession, but Airdrie the more chances. For Airdrie their main threat continued to be Cole with his pace and direct running; on the hour mark he went on a terrific solo run down the left, cutting inside and bursting past Harry Pittaway and Fraser Lee.

But just at the last minute as Cole shaped to shoot from six yards, John Comming sprinted over and snuffed out the danger.

And that was the biggest sniff Airdrie would have of a goal for the rest of the match Glenvale really upped the pressure, not dissimilar to the way Los Blancos destroyed Juve fewer than 24 hours beforehand.

Vale continued their dominance largely thanks to the competence and drive of Luke Chastie on the right wing, who was a constant out ball for any of his team-mates. Sean Borland was the primary creative force in the middle but it was a rare occasion when he drifted out wide that led to Glenvale’s third goal. Borland’s left wing cross was low and none of the Airdrie back line were in position to clear it and standing at the back post was Andrew McColl, who casually rolled the ball towards goal.

He could maybe have been accused of over-composure, as McCarron’s last-ditch slide to clear it nearly paid off but the referee and his assistants gave the goal and on first look it did seem that the whole ball did cross the line.

The Ferguslie boys showed no mercy and grabbed their fourth – through McColl, again from close range – with eight minutes left on the clock and their fifth with only seconds remaining as Crooks added a goal to his portfolio of work for the day.

The period in between the goals, and for much of the time leading up to them involved Glenvale keeping the ball comfortably and spraying it around with ease and when the final whistle went the Glenvale boys duly basked in their glory. Airdrie did well to reach the final and if they’d grabbed a goal at 1-0 or even 2-0 things might have been different, but who knows considering the form the Vale were in.

And so, like the European Champions, Glenvale can look back on 2016-2017 as a very successful season having secured league and cup triumphs. The Scottish Cup final defeat will still be a bitter pill to swallow but this victory will go a long way in making up for it.

  • Full Time:
  • Glenvale AFC
  • 5-0
  • Airdrieonians


Glenvale AFC
1. Aidan McMahon
2. John Comming
3. Andrew McColl
5. Kyle McLaughlin
6. Adam Bridges
7. Aidan McLaughlin
9. Declan Curran
12. Harry Pittaway
13. Fraser Lee
14. Luke Chastie
15. Anton Calderwood
16. Cameron Crooks
17. Matthew McMillan
18. Brian Connor
1. Jay McCarron
2. Ben Doris
3. Keelan McCloskey
4. Anthony Skiffington
5. Taylor Lindsay
6. Kai Speirs
8. Callum Drummond
10. Lewis Yule
11. Michael Ralston
14. Kai McKillop
15. Reece Eardley
16. Calum Guthrie
17. Ryan Mackay
19. Blair Cole
Star Player
Glenvale AFC
Brian Connor. He was the Ronaldo figure for his team - deadly in front of goal, a constant threat to the defence with his movement, and silky on the ball.
Blair Cole. His effort and willingness to run for everything was exemplified when. after losing the ball in the opponent's half, sprinted all the way back to the edge of his own box to make a tackle. That drive, coupled with his pace and dribbling, was his team's main source of danger to Vale.
Magic Moment
Glenvale AFC
To score the opening goal in a cup final is always a great moment but it was Connor's second goal that was the highlight. His calm and composed demeanour in front of goal was like that of a seasoned veteran.
It's a difficult one for Airdrieonians and considering their mid-table league position they will have been happy to reach the final full stop. Blair Cole's mazy run in the second half would've made for a wondergoal had he not been thwarted, though.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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