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West Region (157)

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.

A one-sided West Region Cup final between Harmony Row and St Andrew's BC ended in a 5-1 success for Harmony.

First-half goals from Thomas Seagrave and Chrissy Drennan were added to by strikes from Charlie Freedman, Ross MacKenzie, and a late Ben Harwood penalty to secure the trophy in convincing fashion. Aiden Robertson notched a late consolation for St Andrew's, who just couldn't keep up with Harmony Row as the game went on.

Yet, despite the convincing fashion of victory, it was a very competitive first 45 between the two sides.

Harwood was a live wire throughout, and two early runs down the right saw him cross into the area with nobody there to attack the crosses. It was an impressive start for Harmony, who were often looking down their right flank for inspiration.

St Andrew's were quiet in the early stages, but did get their first opening on 10 minutes when Adam Houlihan rattled a half-volley off the bar. The rebound fell kindly for Ryan Dickson, but he could only head straight at Dylan Austin.

It was a signal of intent from St Andrew's, but they also had to heed the warning that Seagrave was giving them up front. Twice he seemed to get in behind the St Andrew's defence with ease, but was either let down by his control or an advancing Declan Tinney.

Seagrave, however, wouldn't be denied for a third time. A simple long ball saw him run beyond the defence, and there a was a swagger to his stride as he ran through on goal and calmly slotted Harmony Row in front.

The next five minutes or so saw a good response from St Andrew's. Robertson nearly came close after collecting a spill from Austin, but he was quickly shutdown. Meanwhile, Dickson thought he had equalised when he towered home a header from a terrific Robertson cross down the left. However, unfortunately for Dickson, he was flagged for offside.

Robertson was looking like St Andrew's most likely influence, having a couple more moments down the left that could've reaped rewards had their been a better final ball or killer touch.

St Andrew's should've levelled just before the 40 minute mark, when an incredible series saw Robertson glance a header onto the bar before a rebound effort from Jay Devlin was somehow stopped by Austin. The rebound looked certain for the net, and massive credit must go to Austin for how he got himself up from Robertson's header to beat the ball away.

And it would pay off just moments before the break as Harmony Row extended their advantage. Their didn't seem to be a lot on for Drennan. However, after weaving past several challenges into the penalty area, the winger slotted home confidently with his right foot to give Harmony Row a strong lead heading into the break.

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.

A dramatic climax to the SYFA West Region Under-17s cup final saw St Peter's take the trophy in a 4-2 penalty-shootout win over Giffnock SC. 

The shootout came after the sides couldn't be separated after 90 minutes, with a thrilling 2-2 draw on display for the supporters at Petershill Stadium during the initial 90 minutes. 

First-half strikes from Harry Carlin and Chimwemwe Goma had St Peter's in cruise control heading into the break. However, a strike at the start of the second 45 by Fraser Cowan was eventually added to by a dramatic late effort from Cameron Stewart that secured a shootout for Giffnock.

St Peter's looked lively early on, and were trying to take advantage of any opportunities they were getting from the Giffnock back-line. Marcus Holland caught Ben Kilcoyne napping in his own half, and struck a half-volley on goal that forced Luke Paul into a good low stop.

In truth, the opening stages were extremely cagey yet energetic. The biggest source of that energy was coming from Goma, who seemed to have the responsibility of roaming around the pitch to try and make things happen. Several runs by him and Matthew McArthur led to some promising cut-backs, but there were no takers.

Giffnock had their moments down the right hand side, but in truth it was St Peter's who were starting to look in the ascendancy towards the half hour mark. Chances were still rare, but the best one fell to St Peter's right before 30 minutes. Declan Shaw had a pop from 20 yards, and after Paul parried it straight to McSkeane, it looked as though it would be 1-0. However, Paul did well to gather the rebound comfortably.

Yet St Peter's weren't going to have to wait much longer before opening the scoring. They had been looking the likelier side, but a moment of class sealed their advantage. Lewis Logan sent a terrific, curling ball to the front post that was flicked home superbly by Carlin.

With the momentum now with St Peter's, they went and doubled their lead before the break. A simple corner into the Giffnock penalty area was cleared only as far as Goma, who let a howitzer leave the outside of his right boot and curl into the far corner.

Holland's cross just evaded Goma, whilst Lee McTernan was next to pop an effort wide before the break as St Peter's dominated the contest, with McTernan also clipping the post with an effort with the outside of his right boot on half-time.

Two quickfire goals by Kilwinning Rangers turned the P&JDYFL Division 3 Final on its head as they ran out champions against a strong Glasgow East side at King George V Park in Renfrew.
 
A Kieran Irwin penalty in the first half put Glasgow in the driving seat, but Kilwinning turned the game in their favour with two quick goals from Billy McGinn and Ryan Strain. Sean Davis completed the scoring late on to secure the trophy in a very entertaining match for the neutral on a sunny day in Renfrew.
 
Kilwinning had the first real opportunity of the match when Strain hit a long shot that looked to be heading in before curling away from goal at the last second. Strain nearly opened the scoring again five minutes later when his glancing header from a corner went just wide.
 
Rangers struck the woodwork just before the 20 minute mark when Davis hit one on the half-volley only to see his effort cannon off the crossbar and cleared from danger by the Glasgow defence.
 
Glasgows first real sight at goal came shortly after but Daniel Zekaj's effort from just outside the box went flying over the bar. Shortly after they hit the woodwork themselves as a corner from Darren Burns hit the top of the crossbar on its way behind.
 
Kilwinning were having the better opportunities in the match but crucially weren't making any of them count annd Glasgow took full advantage when they were awarded a penalty on the 36th minute. Irwin made no mistake from the spot, firing into the top corner leaving 'keeper  Drew Kiefer no chance.
 
Kilwinning were nearly level within two minutes when a snapshot by McGinn had to be well saved by Sean Twigg, made all the more impressive considering he was playing with an injury to his back.
 
The last chance of the half fell to Kilwinning and the crossbar was playing a major role again, this time keeping out Jamie Cook's free-kick.

A sensational comeback from Holyrood saw them run out 4-2 winners after extra-time against John Paul Academy to win the Under-15s Glasgow Schools' League Shield.

A brace from John Paul's Cameron Sweeney either side of half-time sandwiched a David Hurrel header. It seemed as though John Paul were going to take the shield after holding out for 67 minutes. However, with just minutes remaining, Hurrel came up trumps again to take the game into extra-time.

Holyrood had an extra gear to go to in the two halves of 10 minutes and it showed in the score-line. Michael Thompkins nodded home superb third, before the scoring was rounded off at the death as an unfortunate mix-up between goalkeeper Patrick Okodien and Robert Donnelly saw the latter poke into his own net.

Holyrood showed serious intent in the first 15 minutes, and will wonder how they never stormed into an early lead.

Guy Bullock sliced an effort wide at the back post, before Hurrel controlled a cross from the left superbly, but could only slide his effort off the post.

The pressure continued as Hurrel drilled an effort wide after being played in by Bullock, as the play was going in one-way traffic.

John Paul got their first shot of the game on 11 minutes when Kyle Bryson nodded into the arms of Gabriel Abercromby.

However, much of the play was going through the impressive Hurrel for Holyrood. He was showing some extremely flashy touches on the ball and clever flicks that deceived the John Paul midfield to start attacks for his side.

Yet, for all of their dominance, Holyrood conceded the opening goal just after the 20-minute mark. Billy Owens sent in a tempting cross to the near post that was headed with great power by Sweeney. Despite several Holyrood defenders being on the line, the power forced the ball in to give John Paul Academy a priceless 1-0 lead.

The goal gave John Paul added impetus in the run up to half-time. Bryson, Sweeney, and Owens all combined beautifully to set up Owens, but the latter just couldn't get a clean effort on goal from inside the box.

Yet it wasn't long before Holywood were battering the door down and trying to get the equaliser before the break.

A corner from the left was flicked wide by Dylan MacDonald, before Hurrel tried another effort from 25 yards that flew over. Holyrood were ending the half strong, but couldn't grab an equaliser before the break.

Bannerman High School secured the Under-14 League Shield with an impressive 5-1 dismantling of St Andrew's Secondary at Auchenhowie.

First half goals from Sam Christie and Cameron Orr were added to by a second-half brace from Kalvin Higgins and a stunning fifth from Orr towards the death. Tomas Cassidy got on the score-sheet before half-time for St Andrew's with a towering header of his own.

It was a final that promised goals given that both sides were in free-scoring form heading into the match. And it was a game that didn't fail to deliver in terms of quality.

One particular standout was Morgan Graham of St Andrew's, who was notably the only female player in the match as well as one of the top performers in a spirited display from her side. 

The game started in blistering fashion, with St Andrew's putting on a high press and forcing Bannerman's back-line into some early pressure. The first chance of the half, however, came from Bannerman, as Orr drilled an early strike over just outside the area.

Orr would then test the impressive Lennon Campbell's palms as he burst through and sent a low effort his way. Fortunately for St Andrew's the young goalkeeper produced a smart stop to tip round from a corner.

Despite a positive first 10 minutes for Bannerman though, St Andrew's started to feel their way into the game, with Cassidy bursting forward and curling an effort on goal that saw Nathan Coyne produce a fine save.

And Bannerman would storm into the lead just two minutes later. A lovely ball over the top by Lucas Wilson sent the pacey Christie away. The right-winger then lashed a low effort under the unfortunate Campbell to give Bannerman a priceless lead.

It wasn't long before Christie was in again down the right, but his low cross was well snuffed out by the St Andrew's defence.

One notable battle that was intriguing was Kai Mitchell of Bannerman against St Andrew's right-back Devon McAllister. Both youngsters were getting in about each other, with Mitchell often showing great flair and energy to win the ball high up for Bannerman.

And it wasn't long before St Andrew's went 2-0 down. A corner into the area was powerfully headed into the net by Orr, leaving St Andrew's with it all to do.

There was almost a quick response when Cassidy held the ball up well to lay of Keon Crampsie, but his well struck effort that looked top-corner bound was clawed away by Coyne again.

However, from the resulting flurry of corners, St Andrew's got themselves back into the contest. It would arrive from a towering Cassidy header - with Bannerman's lead reduced to one.

Cassidy almost broke through just moments before the break, but could only poke wide as St Andrew's had to settle for a 2-1 deficit heading into half-time.

A pulsating clash between Hillwood Boys Club and Glenvale FC ended with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win for Hillwood, coming after an incredible 3-3 contest in this West Region Cup semi-final clash.

Glenvale threw away a 2-0 lead after goals from Owen Conaghan and Kyle Deans had them in cruise control just after the break. Hillwood hit back to turn the game around in the second half thanks to strikes from Lewis Cannon, Ceejay McGregor, and Cameron Kelly. Yet the drama in this 70-minute contest wouldn't end there, with Conaghan curling home a terrific free-kick to take the game to penalties.

Hillwood came into the game with a depleted squad that contained no substitutes, showing just how much energy and fight they had to show in order to come away with victory over a very game Glenvale outfit.

The hosts started brightly, and were trying to play the ball through to Ayaan Ali, who was a handful all afternoon with his power. There was also an early penalty shout when Ali went tumbling down in the box after running in from the right, but the referee saw nothing wrong.

Up the other end, Glenvale started flexing their muscles after a slow start. Lewis Brown cleverly slipped in Caden Barr, who made a smart run in from the right side of the penalty box. However, Barr's effort was too high after his clever movement.

Both sides were playing some lovely football, with just a final ball missing from most moves as the half wore on. It was a typical cup semi-final with plenty of commitment in the challenges and a desperation not to give the opposition a sniff.

However, after Glenvale had warned Hillwood about the space down the right side of the penalty area earlier on, they used it again to strike first. It was Conaghan who this time made the run to collect a lovely through ball, and, on the spin, lashed home a superb right-footed effort into the opposite bottom corner.

There was a chance to equalise just minutes later for Hillwood, but Cannon could only blaze Aaron Duff's cross over the bar from yards out. It was a lovely piece of play from Duff, who turned his man expertly before setting Cannon up with an inch-perfect cross.

It was end-to-end stuff towards the end of the first-half, with Glenvale starting to see more of the ball down the flanks. Conaghan drilled wide after a storming run down the left saw him take the ball past Archie Dickson, whilst McGregor miss-hit an effort from 20 yards after space opened up for the Hillwood midfielder.

Both sides huffed and puffed before the break, but it was to be the second-half that would contain all the excitement.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018 23:49

Gartcairn FA lift Only Sport League Cup

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Gartcairn Academy lifted the Only Sport League Cup after seeing off a spirited Greenock HSFP side on Sunday afternoon in Glasgow.

The Airdrie side raced into an early lead and managed to see the game out, withstanding some heavy late pressure to win the match 4-2.

Gartcairn kicked off the match on a clear but chilly afternoon at New Tinto Park but the game’s first chance fell to Greenock after four minutes.

Greenock won a free kick on the right corner of the box and Robbie McAlpine stepped up to hit it. The full back curled a low shot around the wall but Gartcairn keeper Scott Matthews held the ball well.

Gartcairn then went close to opening the scoring after Luke Kelly demonstrated some neat footwork to release Craig Wright, but the striker was denied by the onrushing Andrew Todd, the Greenock goalie.

Then, with six minutes played, Gartcairn took the lead. Wright chased a pass back to Todd and was rewarded for his persistence when the keeper hesitated on the ball. Todd eventually attempted to clear the ball upfield, but by then it was too late. Wright got in the way of the kick and the ball looped into the Greenock net.

Just two minutes later Greenock came within inches of levelling the scores. Kwame Antoine collected the ball at the far post and was ushered to the edge of the box by the Gartcairn defence. Antoine then produced a phenomenal piece of improvisation, chipping the ball up for himself before firing the ball into the box via an overhead kick. Craig Boyd reached it for Greenock, but his header was too tame and was easily saved.

Then, with 10 minutes on the clock, Gartcairn doubled their advantage. Wright collected the ball in the Greenock box with his back to goal before being tackled from behind by Todd. The referee blew for a penalty, which was comfortably dispatched by Josh Moore.

Greenock then upped the intensity in a bid to pull a goal back and were rewarded within six minutes. Boyd floated a corner towards the back post, where Antoine headed back across goal. Kieran Hendry struck the ball, which took a few deflections, before bouncing into the Gartcairn net.

The game became very tight at this stage, with both sides cancelling each other out in the middle of the park.

Wright then grabbed his second and his team’s third. Moore played a fantastic first-time pass from the right of midfield that split the Greenock defence wide open and sent Wright scampering through for a one-on-one. Todd rushed off his line to stop him, but it was too late. Wright fortunately got the break of the ball and rounded the keeper before rolling the ball into the empty net.

At 3-1, Greenock struggled to retain possession and their high line always looked vulnerable, as Gartcairn were more than happy to attempt to hit their opponents on the break.

Kelly went close to extending Gartcairn’s lead further when he thundered down the left wing, driving at goal, but Todd did well to parry Kelly’s effort wide.

McAlpine came close to reducing the deficit when he struck a free kick from an almost identical position as his first effort. This time, he curled a powerful shot over the wall but Matthews was equal to it.

Greenock were then denied a penalty of their own when Boyd attempted to round Matthews and was brought to the floor, but the referee ruled that the keeper had won the ball.

With the first half drawing to a close there was still time for one last goal for Gartcairn Academy. Some neat passing, twinned with good movement, eventually saw left back Calum Rodger released down the wing. Rodger used all of his pace and his strength to drive into the box before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

An inspirational fight-back from Greenock Morton saw them halt Airdrieonians' potential title-party with a 3-2 home success on Friday night.

A Kieran Brophy double was sandwiched in between Jack Purdue's equaliser as the Ton smashed home three second-half goals to turn around a game that looked to be dead and buried. Jake Coulter and Calvin Cowie netted first-half strikes for the visitors.

Airdrieonians went into the game knowing that a win would guarantee them the Development League West title, but initially were surprised by a high Morton press. The Ton were pushing Airdrie back into their own final third at times, and it felt like chances would soon start to flow as Airdrieonians struggled to cope.

However, it wasn't long before the visitors were getting the ball down and put themselves on the front foot. Coulter and Thomas Kennedy were threatening to combine, with the former flicking a header through for the latter, but it was too heavy.

Coulter was extremely lively, and it was he who opened the scoring on 15 minutes. Lovely play down the left hand side saw a cross fizz towards goal. Daniel Farrell could only palm the ball straight out to Coulter, who was on hand to poke home from close-range.

It was exactly the start Airdrieonians were looking for, and things started to settle for them after the opener. Coulter got into a variety of terrific positions, with Kennedy and Grant Brennan providing constant service for the striker. However, Coulter continually had efforts on goal blocked.

These openings came after Farrell got a big hand to a Coulter header, and Brennan had a slow drive from inside the area timely blocked and out for a corner.

The chances just kept coming for a confident Airdireonians outfit, and they would have a golden chance to go 2-0 up on 28 minutes. Brennan again spun round Morton's trialist, who took him out to give away a penalty. Robbie Leighton stepped up but his penalty was confidently beaten away by Farrell.

Farrell was yet again called into action moments later as he palmed Brennan's ferocious drive over the bar.

The pressure was relentless, and the visitors doubled their lead deservedly before the break. A lovely ball from Coulter set up Cowie in the box. After sizing up his position in the box, he smashed a powerful effort high over Farrell, who could only get a slight touch, and into the net.

As the referee blew for half-time and a dominant Airdrieonians went back up the tunnel, there was a subdued atmosphere from the Morton supporters, who would've believed it was a case of how many for what looked like the champions-elect.

Yet, nobody could've foreseen what the second half provided.

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