Giffnock North lifted the SYFA West Region Cup after a flurry of late goals guaranteed the trophy for the under-13s side.
Giffnock overcame Knightswood 5-1 in Sunday’s final but the game could have gone either way until the Glaswegian side were reduced to ten men, at which point the floodgates opened.
Giffnock kicked off on a dry Sunday morning at Petershill Park but the game’s first chance fell to Knightswood with just five minutes on the clock. Forward Jack Keenan played the ball to Ben Willis who then returned it to Keenan on the edge of the box, but his low drive was easily held by Marc Newton.
Knightswood had another chance moments later when Gregg McMahon’s corner found Willis at the near post, but Newton saved the ball well.
Then, just a minute later, Giffnock took the lead. Striker Greg Harrower got on the end of a long ball forward and drove at goal, drifting slightly to the left. The angle was narrow but Harrower slotted past the onrushing Ross Faiden, with the ball clipping the inside of the post before crossing the line.
Giffnock North enjoyed more possession than their opponents after the goal but were pressed relentlessly all over the pitch. Where Giffnock were patiently looking for an opening, Knightswood harried them and looked to hit them on the counter.
Knightswood then came within inches of levelling the score. Flynn Kerr attempted to lob Newton from the edge of the box with a looping shot, but the goalkeeper did very well to stretch and catch the ball.
A minute later, Knightswood came close again to finding an equaliser. Willis was released to the right of the box and fired a low shot at the near post, but Newton was equal to it.
Lewis Hill then spurned an excellent chance that could have seen Giffnock double their advantage. Harrower whipped in an inviting cross from the right that Hill got a head on, but his effort didn’t trouble Knightswood goalie Faiden.
Giffnock surely would have made it 2-0 if not for an exceptional block from Knightswood’s Ciaran Grant. Harrower shifted the ball out to Christy Diamond, who swung a cross towards George McKenzie in the box. The forward was about to pull the trigger when Grant threw himself in front of the shot, superbly denying the chance.
Willis always looked dangerous in attack for Knightswood and the striker came very close to scoring a wonderful solo goal about halfway through the first half. Willis broke free of the Giffnock defence and drove to the edge of the box before clipping the ball past Newton, but also just wide of the far post.
Knightswood began to pile on the pressure and were soon rewarded with another goalscoring opportunity. Grant got on the end of a cross from the left and was unmarked at the back post but failed to slip the ball past Newton.
Faiden then produced an outstanding stop to prevent Knightswood from doubling their advantage. Harrower broke down the left and outstripped the defence for a one-on-one with the Giffnock keeper. Faiden was quick off his line and spread himself well to deny Harrower.
Then, with halftime fast approaching, Knightswood grabbed the equaliser their play deserved. The ball fell to Keenan on the edge of the box, who took one look before firing a powerful effort that gave Newton little chance of saving it.
Knightswood almost took the lead on the stroke of halftime when McMahon released Keenan for a one-on-one with the keeper, only for Jed Connell to come out of nowhere to provide a superb block to deny Knightswood their second.
The referee then blew his whistle to call time on an entertaining first half. The match was tight and looked like it could go either way in the second period.