On one of the biggest days in the club’s history, St Andrews BC upset the odds to beat Giffnock North United in the Scottish Youth FA Cup Semi-Final. A delightful double in the second half from skipper Gavin Houten was enough to edge the Saints into the final.
The two sides met at New Tinto Park, both with considerable crowds behind them to try and cheer them onto the Scottish Cup Final at the Excelsior Stadium in May. Coming into the match Giffnock North were the favourites, currently sitting 2nd in the Paisley and District Youth Football League. On the other hand, St Andrews sit in 4th and had lost twice already to Giffnock North this season, one of these being in the Gilbert Baird cup losing a dramatic game 6-5.
St Andrews kicked off the semi-final in a wet Govan and were immediately subjected to a high press by Giffnock North. The first chance of the game fell to the favourites after a deflection in the ninth minute found Giffnock North’s Jamie McDermott on the edge of the box. The striker attempted a half volley but it flew over the bar, failing to test Ross Duncan in the Saints goal.
The Saints first chance of the game came seven minutes later, with Aidan Blaney flicking the ball towards Lewis Darroch who raced goalward against Giffnock North’s Aiden McLaughlin. The tricky striker managed to create a bit of space away from the centre half at the edge of the box, but he slipped whilst taking the shot and dragged it well wide of the left hand post.
In the 18th minute the Saints had another chance, but the wet conditions were proving to be difficult and Joe Morgan also slipped whilst taking a shot on the edge of the box, meaning it also did not trouble Giffnock North’s Kai McFarlane.
A minute later though he was worried when Morgan fed the ball to Gavin Houten, with the striker picking up the ball and showing electrifying pace to burst in the box. Somehow though, after an almighty scramble and a combination of McFarlane and his defence, they managed to stop the striker from scoring.
They were not so lucky in the 30th minute however when more confusion in the box led to the opener for the Saints. A floated in free-kick caused chaos in the Giffnock North box with several shots being blocked before the ball fell to Morgan who prodded it into the back of the net. Captain Houten ran to the bench to celebrate as his side ended the first half 1-0 up.