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Sunday, 12 May 2013 19:11

Mains overcome Saints and weather to lift cup

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Park Mains HS
St. Ninian's HS
Own Goal 52
MacLennan 80
Devine 66


Senior Paisley Schools Play-Off
St. James' Racecourse

Paul Butterfield

By Paul Butterfield
YFS West Region Reporter
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A wet and windy St. James’ Racecourse greeted the players of Park Mains and St. Ninian’s on Saturday morning for a closely-fought match in the final of the Paisley Schools Cup. Park Mains eventually took the spoils, but at times the game’s outcome was – much like the weather – impossible to predict.
Not so in the early going, however, where Park Mains – playing in dark blue and yellow – dominated possession. A succession of corners were floated into St. Ninians’ penalty area before 10 minutes were gone, and only some fine defensive work from the Saints’ defence kept the scores level. At the other end, Park Mains’ left back Dylan Devlin was in fine form, keeping his goalkeeper Craig Hair from being tested with perfectly timed tackles and an admirable awareness of his positioning at the back. Nearly 15 minutes would pass before St. Ninian’s found their first clear-cut opportunity: a free kick sent just to the right of Hair’s goalmouth.

Both number 11s (Blair Lyons for St. Ninian’s and James MacLennan for Mains) were pivotal to their teams’ build-up play. With 20 minutes gone, MacLennan cut through the opposition defence to send a strong shot to ‘keeper Marc Walters’ left, and must’ve been surprised to see the effort denied by a superb diving save. He would once again come close to scoring from the corner kick that resulted, but his header sailed just over the bar. Meanwhile, opposite number Lyons was the channel through which the Saints launched their most effective counter-attacks. He showed uncanny composure during a first half in which high balls and rushed play were a common theme. 

St. Ninian’s settled into their play and had the best chance of the first half when some neat passing between strikers Kyle Fitzpatrick and Martin Maguire cut through Mains’ defence. Maguire surged into the penalty area, where he was tackled by the goalkeeper. Craig Hair had appeared to get the man and not the ball, but the referee waved away penalty claims from the St. Ninian’s support. 
Half Time: Park Mains High School 0-0 St. Ninian's High School 

Though the first half ended scoreless, it would take only seven minutes for the second period to yield a goal. A Park Mains corner kick was met by the head of St. Ninian’s defender Mark Toner, who was unlucky to put the ball just out of reach of his own ‘keeper and into the net. 

If Park Mains thought their goal was just rewards for an impressive first half performance, they would soon be shown that their opponents had plenty of fight left in them.

St. Ninian’s looked, if anything, rejuvenated by their lost goal, and quickly put Mains’ defence to the test. Indeed, a second penalty claim came on the 55 minute mark. Blair Lyons produced a keen shot from just outside the penalty area, which was deflected off a defender’s arm. The referee judged the contact to be accidental, and play continued.

The Saints weren’t disheartened. Continuous pressure on the Park Mains defence followed, and with 66 minutes on the clock, told. Martin Maguire showed unmatched pace on the left wing, and his low cross reached the toe of a sliding Joe Devine to level the score at 1-1.

Park Mains would stage their own comeback, but found themselves denied at every turn by St. Ninians’ goalkeeper Walters, who was keen and able enough to pull out some excellent saves in the name of keeping his side level.

By this point the rain had let up. This made the game more pleasant for spectators, but the conditions had taken their toll on the pitch. A muddy centre circle was the scene of numerous slips and slides, and as a result, possession changed quickly and unpredictably in midfield. 

It was from this confusion that Park Mains’ Fraser Morrison emerged in the opposition’s half with the ball in the 80th minute. From here he delivered a cross into the middle of the field, which Andrew Maclennan rose to meet with his head. He sent the ball straight into the net, and Park Mains into the lead with 10 minutes left.
The dark blues would keep hold of this lead, and become 2013 Paisley Schools champions. After a tough test in seriously challenging conditions, victory no doubt fell that much sweeter for Mains.

Full Time: Park Mains High School 2-1 St.Ninian's High School

Park Mains High School St. Ninian's High School
1. Craig Hair
2. Andrew McKinlay
3. Dylan Devlin
4. Ian Paterson
5. Craig Fyfe
6. Fraser Morrison
7. Andrew MacLennan
8. Kyle Brown
9. Paul Kane
10. Matthew Evans
11. James MacLennan
12. Reece Ashmore
14. Ross Gemmell
15. Bruce Gibson
16. Al Stewart
17. Marcus Foster
1. Marc Walters
2. Andrew Gilroy
3. Kevin McLaren
4. Mark Toner
5. Chris McFadyen
6. Mark McGuigan
7. Kris Holmes
8. Johnny McBeth
9. Kyle FItzpatrick
10. Martin Maguire
11. Blair Lyons
12. Max McLuskie
14. Husnain Mansoor
15. Stephen Lavery
16. Daniel Baines
17. Joe Devine
James MacLennan was a constant source of pressure on the St. Ninian's defence.
Marc Walters showed exceptional skill to deny a number of clear chances for Park Mains, especially in the second half.
Last modified on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:33

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