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Bonnyton triumph in Best of West tie to reach final

Bonnyton Thistle 3

Hill 6, Barrie 35, Mears 85

Barrhead YFC 2

Ashe 68, 90+2
  • Sunday, 13 April 2014
  • Grange Academy
  • Under 19´s
  • West of Scotland Cup

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

Barrhead YFC travelled south to Ayrshire to take on rivals Bonnyton Thistle in the semi final of the West Region Cup yesterday. The glorious sunshine matched the glory on offer - a place in the final of one of Scotland’s most prestigious tournaments – and featured two teams fitting the bill of ‘Best in the West’ with Bonnyton top of the Paisley and Johnstone District League and Barrhead in the final of the Scottish Cup. Incidentally, Bonnyton are the current holders of the Scottish Cup – of which Johnstone Burgh knocked them out of, and Barrhead are finalists in – and Barrhead 17s won the West Region Cup last year.
 
All of this made for an exciting spectacle and in the end it did not disappoint. Bonnyton went ahead early through Steven Hill before Ewan Barrie extended the lead. Barrhead’s Jack Easdon made it interesting in the second half before Sean Mears nodded Bonnyton back in front – only for Easdon to strike again in stoppage time for a tense final few moments.
 
Both teams had chances in the opening minutes with Barrhead’s Ryan Bell trying a volley but to no avail. Moments later, in the sixth minute, Bonnyton’s Barrie spread the ball wide to Ryan Golightly on the right wing and after advancing towards the by-line he sent a low cross towards the front of the box. Hill evaded his marker and nipped to the ball first to glance a diving header past the keeper and into the bottom corner. This made it 1-0 to the home side with their first real chance, leaving Barrhead with an uphill struggle.
 
Barrhead immediately tried to level things up on 8 minutes when midfield dynamo Sam McNeil let fly with a swerving drive from distance with his left foot only to see it curl inches wide of the top corner.
 
McNeil was again causing problems for the Bonnyton defence on the 24 minute mark when a ball over the top found him with a foot of space. He laid the ball back to Tam McGauchey but Scott Purdie in the Bonnyton goal made a great save from his strong close-range shot, parrying the ball away.
 
Minutes later Purdie had to be at his best to deny McGauchey as he was found in space in behind the back four once again; stabbing a shot towards goal from the left corner of the six yard box, McGauchey’s effort was blocked by the legs of Purdie for a corner.
 
As we approached the half hour mark, Barrhead were the team on top. Ever since the opening goal they had looked more like scoring than the home team and had more of the ball. The Bonnyton midfield had seen a reshuffle and Barrhead had capitalised on this, with their regulars seizing control in that third of the park. Both teams were playing fairly direct football, although this didn’t detract from the excitement.
 
Bonnyton regained some of their early creativity and managed to put some pressure on their opponents, manufacturing a couple of corners in doing so. Following one of them, Golightly had a shot blocked by Easdon on the edge of the box before Barrhead cleared the danger second time round.
 
The danger wasn’t over completely though and Bonnyton made their spell of pressure count. Thistle grabbed the second goal on with ten minutes to go in the half and it was midfield engine Barrie who struck home. With the ball bouncing around the box, Hill took control and laid the ball off to his team-mate who was coming in on the run from outside the box at full pelt. Barrie took the ball on the bounce and rocketed a strike into the corner from the centre of the box past the helpless keeper and some stunned Barrhead faces.
 
Barrhead could perhaps have been right to feel hard done by but as the half closed out Thistle didn’t let up with playmaker Declan Adam going close with a half volley from the edge of the area before Barrie committed a foul and halted the play.
  • Half Time:
  • Bonnyton Thistle
  • 2-0
  • Barrhead YFC
Bonnyton once again started the brighter as we kicked off. Two minutes in, Steven McCarrison attempted a half volley with his left boot from 20 yards and was unlucky to see it sail a couple of yards too high, dipping too late to creep under the bar.
 
After being more prominent in an attacking sense in the first half, Bonnyton full back Golightly had to be alert defensively to thwart the increasingly dangerous Easdon on the 55 minute mark. Golightly had to  bail out Purdie who, after suffering a broken finger in the first half, attempted to punch the ball clear with one hand only to see it fall to Easdon. Golightly literally put his body on the line to deny Easdon’s close-range effort by clearing it off the line and crashing into the post as a result.
 
The game became a bit of a battle in the middle of the second half with neither side doing enough to create any clear cut chances. The tension and passion in the game only increased in the process as Barrhead knew they would need the next goal to stand any chance of beating their new rivals for the second time in cup competitions. They kept alive that chance.
 
Easdon, who had been gradually growing into the game, managed to time his run well to pick up his strike partner’s chested lay off following a dinked pass from midfield that caught out the Bonnyton defence on their right hand side. Easdon controlled the ball and slotted home with supreme composure to inject some life into the tie with around 20 minutes to go in normal time.
 
Barrhead were buoyed by the goal and maintained the pressure on their opponents with even their defenders getting in on the act with chances from corners.
 
After seeing a volley whizz past their post by only a few yards, Bonnyton knew they were far from sure of a place in the final despite their lead. Sean Mears sought about assuring it once and for all but his fearsome shot from distance but saw Ali Hughes in the Barrhead goal beat the ball away from danger.
 
Two minutes later, Kris Chisholm found space in the centre of the box and swivelled on the spot, sending a low shot towards Hughes’ goal but again the keeper was there to smother the close-range try.
 
We approached the last ten minutes with the score still tight at 2-1 to the home side. Ian Paterson was the next to try with a header that flicked inches wide from a cross on the left hand side before Chris Kelly had a free kick saved.
 
Bonnyton did however snatch the next goal and all but killed off Barrhead’s charge. Mears was the lucky man who latched onto the end of another cross from the left hand side to nip the ball past Hughes with his head. There was barely five minutes to go and Bonnyton could perhaps be forgiven for thinking the game was won – that was not the case.
 
Easdon was still causing trouble and Barrhead continued to search for a goal to spark what would be a miraculous late comeback. Urged on by McNeil, who had been pinging passes all day and shouting encouragement, Barrhead pushed forward and were rewarded with a goal in stoppage time. Easdon was the man who steered the ball home despite pressure from two Bonnyton defenders following a cut-back from the left by-line.
 
It was too little too late however for Barrhead who had been punished for their earlier lack of cutting edge in front of goal. The referee blew the whistle to send the Bonnyton fans and players into frenzy, much to the disdain of a Barrhead side who would perhaps admit they could have played a bit better - indeed some of the players remarked on the way back to the changing rooms that they were not happy with the display. The away team played well but couldn't replicate their successful Scottish Cup form. Bonnyton now had the final piece in their redemption jigsaw; the loss in the Scottish Cup to Johnstone Burgh and lack of that cup run was now sort of made up for after wins in the league and cup.
 
Barrhead now have other things on their mind - the Scottish Cup Final.
  • Full Time:
  • Bonnyton Thistle
  • 3-2
  • Barrhead YFC

Lineups

Bonnyton Thistle
Barrhead YFC

S. Purdie
R. Golightly
I. Paterson
K. McCrum (Captain)
A. Hunter
S. Mears
E. Barrie
D. Adam
C. Kelly
S. McCarrison
S. Hill
M. Abercrombie
D. Shedden
K. Chisholm

A. Hughes
F. McLaughlin
C. Bradley
A. Etherson
J. Plannas
R. Bell
C. O'Donohue
S. McNeil (Captain)
J. Easdon
T. McGauchey
B. Ashe
S. Hughes
M. Parsons
G. Haughie
G. Brown
R. Anderson 

Star Player
Bonnyton Thistle
Barrhead YFC
Sean Mears was full of energy all day as was Ewan Barrie and both deserved their goals today and therefore honourable mentions but the fact keeper Scott Purdie played on with a broken finger and still could be called upon was superb.
Jack Easdon grew into the game and he was a great threat to the Bonnyton back line. His physical talents and technical ability allowed him to almost earn his team a place in the final.
Magic Moment
Bonnyton Thistle
Barrhead YFC
Hill's goal in the opening moments was perhaps one of the nicest passages of plays we seen all day and was accompanied by a wonderful header. Barrie's thunderous drive deserves an honourable mention.
Ashe's first goal: the ball in behind was inch-perfect and cause problems for the defence and the chested lay off from McGauchey was a thing of genius. Easdon finished with aplomb.
Club Views
Bonnyton Thistle
Barrhead YFC
Ian Higgins, coach of Bonnyton said: "Big thanks to our keeper today. Scott Purdie played a full hour with a broken finger with multiple fractures. Superb commitment."
Chris Wilson, coach of Barrhead, said: "I thought we played ok but gave away three cheap goals against a very good side who punished us. All the best to Bonnyton in the final."
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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