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Giffnock spark comeback to seal West Region Cup over East Kilbride

EKFC Blue 1

Stewart 11

Giffnock SC 2

Shields 33, Mugwanda 56

A top-class strike from Tinashe Mugwanda secured the Under-16s West Region Cup for Giffnock SC as they overcame East Kilbride FC 2-1 at Petershill Park.

A clinical finish from Greig Stewart early on gave EK a priceless advantage. However, 20 minutes later Giffnock were level through Jay Shields as the sides headed into the break level.

And as Giffnock continued to exert pressure in the second half, the game would be won through a wonder goal from Mugwanda on 56 minutes.

The first opening of the game came when Mugwanda laid off Shields outside the box after good build-up play, but the captain saw his low shot trundle wide.

It was a strong opening from Giffnock, who were controlling possession and creating openings. Michael Garrity nearly found Cole Wilson with a cross, whilst Garrity himself had a low drive from 25 yards well held.

Yet, despite the positive start, EK stunned Giffnock with a goal from their first real attack. Terrific strength and hold-up play from Ben Richford allowed him to lay the ball into the path of the advancing Stewart. Stewart saw Daniel Smith come off his line and buried it over him superbly for 1-0.

Giffnock looked to reply immediately, and had a flurry of free-kick opportunities that ultimately came to nothing. Sam Ghoul and Finn Kelly were looking lively down the right, but EK were seeing things out well.

Ohoran Markie blazed over after creating an angle for himself, before Drew Garry and Matthew Connolly combined for the former to have an effort beaten away, as Giffnock looked to snatch an equaliser before the break.

Yet for all of their domination, EK gave Giffnock a short reminder of their own capabilities on the counter. A quick attack saw Richford have a low pop at goal that could only be parried. It was half-cleared to Alistair Murray, who returned it in for Blair Rossiter, who somehow clipped an effort off the bar from close-range.

You wondered whether EK would rue that big miss, and it turns out they would just two minutes later. Garry found space down the right and spotted the run of Shields on the box. After collecting, Shields turned superbly on the ball before curling past Dylan Orr and into the net.

The rest of the half would largely peter out, with both sides happy to get in level and not risk any further damage. Rossiter's free-kick from 20 yards that went wayward aside, there was no danger before the break.

Giffnock came out with the same splurge of energy they showed in the opening stages. A jinking run from Ghoul in the box seen an initial shot well blocked, before his rebound flashed wide in a clever period of play from the number 10.

However this game settled into an evenly-contested battle. EK were showing more attacking threat than the first 40 minutes, and really created some chances that they'll be disappointed they didn't take.

A bursting run down the left-flank by Murray saw him get past his man and charge into the box. The cut-back caused panic stations in the Giffnock penalty area, with several claims of hand-ball being appealed by the EK players. The referee didn't agree.

Blair Hill was next to try something for EK, as he showed flashy foot-work on the edge of the box before firing an effort safely over. It was a massive improvement in mentality and intensity from EK.

However, just as they did to Giffnock in the first half, they were suckered by a hammer blow on 56 minutes, and it was a moment of real magic.

When he collected a short pass from a free-kick, there didn't seem to be a lot on for Mugwanda from 30 yards out. However, he sized his shot up and hammered the ball straight into the top corner despite Orr getting a slight hand to it.

EK initially seemed rattled by the goal, struggling to connect their passes and continue with their creative spark that they showed early on in the second period. There was an opening for Lewis Milligan after Rossiter's long ball was flicked on by Hill. However, with Smith quickly coming out to meet him, he could only fire it off the 'keeper.

Right up the other end, Garrity and Wilson combined for the latter to curl wide when in the box for Giffnock.

With the game on a knife-edge, credit must go to Giffnock for how they were dealing with the EK threat. McCann, Garry, and Logan Anderson were all playing their part in clearing their lines effectively.

With time ticking into the final 10 minutes, it was Giffnock who came closest to getting another goal, as Mugwanda powered forward and played it to Garrity. Garrity strode forward but flashed a low effort wide as Giffnock threatened to kill it.

There would be a late flurry of EK pressure, involving an Adam Fernie slice from Stewart's delivery. However, in the end it was a good defensive showing from Giffnock, who deservedly took the West Region Cup.


Giffnock SC
1. Dylan Orr
3. Alistair Murray
5. Adam Fernie
6. Rhys Armstrong
7. Ewan Hornell
8. Greig Stewart
9. Ben Richford
10. Sam Ghoul
11. Lewis Milligan
12. Joseph McDonald
15. Lyle Crothers
17. Finn Kelly
21. Blair Rossiter
25. Blair Hill
1. Daniel Smith
2. Drew Garry
3. Logan Anderson
4. Ben McCann
6. Matthew Tunn
7. Ohoran Markie
8. Jay Shields
9. Cole Wilson
10. Michael Garrity
11. Shay Maxwell
12. Christopher Smith
14. Tinashe Mugwanda
16. Jordan Duffy
17. Matthew Connolly
Star Player
Giffnock SC
Greig Stewart - The East Kilbride captain really led from the front and never allowed Giffnock to have it their own way. Was constantly barking out instructions and trying to encourage his team-mates on. Really impressive individual performance from him, capped off with a lovely opening goal.
Michael Garrity - A real source of creativity and quality for Giffnock. Was combining well with a variety of team-mates and played his part in both assists and chances for himself. A lively display and a cup-winning display from the Giffnock number 10.
Magic Moment
Giffnock SC
EK's goal was a lovely piece of attacking football, and was a terrific example of smash-and-grab football given the context of the opening stages. Richford did so well to hold the ball up, and his lay off to Stewart was inch-perfect. Yet it was no easy feet to finish it, and Stewart did it with authority and confidence.
There's no debate here - Mugwanda's goal was nothing short of top class. He collected the ball and sized up his options, but there was no doubting in his mind what he was doing. A sensational shot that flew into the top corner from 30 yards like a bullet. Credit must go to Orr for getting something on it, but the quality of the strike was so precise that it was always arrowing in regardless.

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