West Region (133)
A towering header from Logan Dempsey led Erskine YFC to glory in the final of their home tournament, in a closely fought match with Glenbrae Colts. After narrowly missing out on lifting the Paisley & Johnstone Districrt YFL Division Two crown, Erskine arrived at Park Mains HS desperate for silverware. Colts, from the division below, put up a good fight but in the end one could reflect on a deserved victory for the boys in red and yellow.
Despite boasting much of the possession in the opening 25 minutes, Erskine struggled to create much in the final third. Both teams failed to string more than a few passes together at a time, with the game very much taking on the moniker of a 'midfield battle'. It ended up being the underdogs who fashioned the first shot at goal when Jacob Devine sprinted in behind the Erskine defence. From 15 yards out he hit the bouncing ball on the half volley with his left foot but he connected perhaps too strongly, and watched the ball sail high and wide.
At the other end, it was Devine's opposite number, Ross Birch, who was tasked with finding the space in behind. The striker was just growing into the game at the point where he had a goal ruled out for offside; the balls over the top from the supply men behind him would become a persistent problem for the Colts back line.
The game really started to liven up after that disallowed goal, especially for the home side. Glenbrae began to defend with a bit more urgency and were quick to try and counter attack, but they lost their way as soon as they approached the Erskine box on multiple occasions. Winger Evan Meyer McDonagh passed up a golden chance to put the home side ahead when the ball fell to him from a cutback five yards out, but he scuffed his shot and the keeper was in no danger. Cameron Kerr then tried a volley from similar range as Devine's early effort at the other end, but he too was off target.
With five minutes until the whistle, Erskine upped the pressure again. Ciaran Doherty went close when he hit the post from 10 yards out when he moved onto McDonagh's cross, and then Kerr had a shot from distance saved following a dribble through the middle of the Glenbrae defence. Kerr produced the next effort too, but he slashed this one wide from inside the box following a quick counter attack on the left.
After a truly epic final, St Cadocs were the ones celebrating after coming from 2-0 down to win 4-2.
Apart from the first goal, it was a very quiet first half with both teams doing a very good job in defence.
The first chance for Rutherglen came on the third minute after a short corner from Patrick Canning found Mikey McWilliams on the edge of the box who drilled in a low and hard shot forcing St Cadocs keeper Kalvin Graham to make a sharp save to his left.
A few minutes later Adam Stoddart was brought down by Luke Kelly outside the box. However, Kieran Boubekri couldn’t keep his shot on target.
Both teams number three’s (Luke McBeth and Canning) were vital to their respective teams as their crosses in the box often caused mayhem for defenders.
This was almost the case on the seventeenth minute when Canning crossed in from midfield, but Mark Taylor header over for Rutherglen.
Just before the half hour mark, some good build up play by St Cadocs was unlucky not to get a goal as a free kick from Michael Blues was crossed into McBeth who headed onto Steven Robertson, but his shot flew just wide.
Four minutes later, Rutherglen looked certain to take the lead when Matthew McGibbon was through on goal with only the keeper to beat. However, Graham managed to stop the chipped shot and a follow up shot was blocked by St Cadocs defender John Masterson.
Following this it was St Cadocs turn to be one on one with the keeper as Callum MacDonald gave Ronan Gillies the chance to put his side in the lead. However, despite beating David Farrell in goals, his shot bounced off the right-hand post. Gillies did well to chase the ball down and provide a pass through to Stoddart, but his shot was well saved by the Rutherglen keeper.
With just three minutes of the half remaining you could tell that the game had sprung into life. Some more great build-up play from St Cadocs involving Steven Robertson, Boubekri and Gilles and shot from Robertson was unfortunate not to end in a goal.
The deadlock was finally broken on the stroke of half time with a ball straight down the middle caught the St Cadocs defence off guard and allowed Mitchell MacDonald to lob the keeper and header into the net.
Glenvale must have prepared for this West Region Cup final by collectively watching Real Madrid’s 4-1 demolition of Juventus in the Champions League final the night previous. The Paisley side ran out 5-0 winners and proved to be a class above Airdrieonians, and they too had a talismanf figure to thank for a brace, in the form of Brian Connor.
In contrast to the mild Cardiff evening football’s current elite battled under, this clash of western Scotland’s finest youths was a duel in the sun, and its rays split through the clouds like Glenvale splitting open the Airdrie defence in the first minute.
The Lanarkshire outfit kicked off but surrendered possession far too easily and their opponents duly pounced. Cameron Crooks spotted the run of his strike partner 25 yards from goal, sticking the ball in between the full back Callum Guthrie and centre half Taylor Lindsay to the path of Connor.
The quick-footed forward nipped in front the on-rushing Jay McCarron in goal to poke the ball into the net. Vale couldn’t have asked for a better start but within another two minutes they were very nearly two goals to the good; Connor shuffled the ball out from under his feet at the left corner of the box and evaded the challenges of three defenders, only to drag his shot wide of the near post.
Airdrie’s first chance came through a decent bit of link up play between Blair Cole and Kai McKillop, and if not for a bit of undue hesitation by McKillop they could have equalised.
Cole ran at the middle of the Glenvale defence, delaying his pass as McKillop curved his run on the outside, before slipping him in at the last second as he approached the box.
McKillop’s first touch set up the space for a shot but he elected to cut back, and the Glenvale defence piled bodies back to thwart the route to goal. McKillop passed the buck to his team-mate but Cole had his shot blocked, and then the responsibilities lay with McKilop again.
This time he did pull the trigger and the Airdrie fans came off their seats in expectation as the powerful shot zeroed in on goal, but Aidan McMahon produced a great save from the point-blank range.
The game entered a lull for the next ten minutes, with neither side threatening each other’s goal. When Glenvale’s Cameron Crooks won a free kick in a dangerous area just to the left hand side of the box, Declan Curran stepped up and arrowed the ball towards the far top corner with his laces but it narrowly skimmed the top of the bar and that was the closest anyone came to scoring.
Kyle McLaughlin had two pot shots from distance saved comfortably by McCarron while at the other end, McMahon had to be alert to be equal to Callum Drummond’s low shot, with the tall forward drilling it to the near post.
Glenvale showed their cutting edge again on the stroke of half time and it was that man Connor again fulfilling the goalscoring duties. Again it was Crooks who played him through and it was in a similar position to his first, about 20 yards out.
This time McCarron opted to stay on his line initially but as Connor dinked the ball over the foot of Skiffington with his first touch and bore down on goal, eventually the keeper had to make a decision. He slid out at Connor’s feet but the Vale hero coolly and effortlessly swerved around him and tucked the ball into the net with his left foot.
Barrhead added to their Scottish Cup win by overcoming league winners Drumsagard in a hotly-contested West Region Cup final.
Drumsagard kicked off in Springburn and managed to take the lead after just three minutes of play, following a well-rehearsed set piece.
Left winger Dylan Campbell took an inward-swinging corner from the left corner that was met by the head of centre back Ben Duncan. Duncan headed the ball across the box to striker Cole McKinnon, who struck a powerful volley from the centre of the box, giving Barrhead keeper Noah Campbell little chance of saving it.
Drumsagard were unable to savour their lead for very long however, with Barrhead finding an equaliser just three minutes later.
Right winger Vincent Scott broke down the right and fired a low shot at the Drumsagard goal, but Barrhead goalie Annan Lung was able to parry the shot to his right. Striker Paul O’Hare was waiting for the ball at the far post, and showed good composure by taking a touch before slotting the ball home.
Drumsagard continued to threaten from set pieces, going close with another corner. Duncan took a corner from the right and fired a high ball into the box that looked like it could go in the net. Campbell got a hand to the ball but Matthew Sorley did well to head it off the line.
Drumsagard continued to press for a goal to take the lead and looked the more likely team to score, showcasing some slick, clever passing in the final third.
McKinnon soon got his and his team’s second resulting from a corner. Duncan hit a high cross towards the back post from the right side where McKinnon was waiting, and the striker rose well to nod the ball into the back of the net.
Barrhead responded well to the goal by scoring an equaliser shortly afterwards. O’Hare did well to rob Drumsagard left back Lewis Gray of the ball, then drove towards the box, beating another Drumsagard defender in the process. The forward cut inside at the edge of the box and rifled in a powerful shot to the right of the goal.
McKinnon then came close to sealing a hat-trick when he got on the end of a long ball into the Barrhead box. McKinnon did well to turn his defender and get a shot away, but his shot rolled just wide of the far post.
Drumsagard then came close from another corner from the left. Campbell hit the ball into the box and it eventually fell to the feet of Kyle MacDonald about 12 yards from goal. MacDonald fired a shot at the bottom left corner but was denied by Vincent Scott who was waiting by the post.
Barrhead pressed hard for an advantage before half-time but struggled to create clear-cut chances. The ref soon blew his whistle and both teams left the pitch with two goals apiece.
Harmony Row Under 17s produced a spectacular performance to defeat Hillwood 4-2 to lift the West Region Cup final on Saturday at Petershill Park.
They produced a powerful performance throughout this cup final, with only a thunderstorm after the hour mark halting their efficient performance.
It was typified by the energy shown by Harmony's Thomas Seagrave up front, who dazzled with his direct running and clever link-up play in the final third that really set the catalyst for a terrific team performance.
However, despite that, they failed to turn up in the first few minutes and were ruthlessly punished.
Thomas Harty was sent clean through on goal through the middle of the Harmony backline and tucked a superb finish away when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Credit must go to HR for how they responded, as they refused to allow the goal to unsettle their rhythm on the ball. Some of the football they played in the midfield was impressive, as Charlie Freedman and Kenny Duffy in particular were really grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck.
Yet for all of HR’s composure in the midfield, at times it wasn’t there defensively. In the first 20 minutes they lost the ball in their own defensive third through a lack of composure and it threatened to cost them on a couple of occasions. However you must credit Hillwood for their strong pressing in the final third, and they made a game of it throughout the contest regardless of times when it threatened to run away from them.
Harmony soon got their act together defensively though, and started to combine extremely well in the final third.
An acrobatic effort from Seagrave went well over before Duffy blasted well over for HR as they turned the screw.
A clever passing move again got into the Hillwood final third, but Seagrave’s tame effort was easily saved by the goalkeeper.
Freedman was controlling the midfield in the middle, whilst Seagrave continued to cause Hillwood no end of problems with his endless energy.
Hillwood were getting occasional joy down both flanks, but despite some terrific crosses from Harty and Kyle McAvoy, there were no takers all too often.
The equaliser had always looked likely as the half wore on, and it deservedly came.
Just moments after Ross MacKenzie had nodded wide after some nervous goalkeeping from Hillwood, a long ball was sent in Seagrave’s direction, who nodded down for Chrissy Drennan to run on to and dispatch beyond the Hillwood goalkeeper.
Harmony Row continued to dominate towards the end of the half, winning all the aerial duels in the midfield.
Seagrave continued to be a menace in the final third, and he breezed away down the left on two occasions – one being touched goal-bound by a Hillwood defender before being sensationally clawed away by Daniel Lockie.
Hampden Weir became the fourth team in the Paisley, Johnstone and District First Division to win a trophy this season after defeating league champions Giffnock North United 4-0 in the final of the West Regional Cup.
After a scrappy first half, the Newlands side ran riot in the final 15 minutes, scoring four to lift the trophy.
Zach Mauchlin got the crucial first goal from the spot after 56 minutes, before a double from Reece Hanley and a brilliant solo effort from John Dempster rounded off a perfect morning for Hampden.
The clubs had shared a win-a-piece in the league this season, and the first half reflected two good teams cancelling each other out. However, both would miss a gilt-edged chance to score.
First, after just 3 minutes, Hampden striker Damian Wojtowicz showed great pace to latch onto a through ball, but Giffnock keeper Kai McFarlane came off his line well to block his shot.
Wojtowicz was involved again moments later when he beat his man on the right hand side and drove the ball across goal, but full-back Dylan Speirs couldn’t find the finishing touch at the back post.
It was then Giffnock’s turn to come close after 17 minutes. James Hazlett showed great awareness to take the ball off the toes of the defence and slip in Craig Taylor, but the striker dragged his shot wide from 12 yards.
Neither team could get control of the game with both defences proving tough to crack and the midfield area often being by-passed.
A terrific free-kick from Hampden’s Liam Nisbet which skimmed the roof of the net was the sole highlight in the second quarter of the game.
Drumsagard turned on the style in the second half of their cup final with Haldane United, eventually running out deserved 4-1 winners. Left fullback Ben Duncan was the star of the show for Drumsagard as he scored two and set up another in an outstanding performance. Cole McKinnon and Kyle MacDonald grabbed the other two Drumsagard goals while Dylan McDonough scored the only goal for Haldane with a wonder strike that would have deserved to win any other cup final.
An even start to the game saw both sides having spells of early pressure without being able to find the net. Cameron Jamieson and Cameron Lakin were both in the right place at the right time with timely interventions to prevent Drumsagard, while up the other end for Haldane Jordan MacDonald and Craig Mooney both shot wide.
The opening goal was made in the Drumsagard defence as Jay Keenan went on a mazy run down the left flank culminating in a shot well-blocked by a Haldane defender on the line only for Duncan to slot it home.
With temperatures soaring around Scotland, water breaks were a necessity to keep the players hydrated but Haldane’s McDonough was taking the conditions in his stride, a powerful driving run from his own half saw him skip past three opponents before Keenan managed to get a foot in.
It was a sign of the talent of McDonough however and he showcased it moments later in the best possible way. Under close attention from his marker, he collected a high ball on his chest, knocked it over the defender, then unleashed an unstoppable volley over Annan Lung in the Drumsagard goal. With shades of James Rodriguez in the 2014 World Cup, it was a special moment.
They couldn’t build on the equaliser however and were quite fortunate to make it in at half time still level as McKinnon twice headed by from good positions for Drumsagard.
Harmony Row sealed a league and league cup double by overcoming Rossvale in a one-sided final. A minute’s silence was held before the game to acknowledge the events in Manchester earlier this week.
Harmony Row got proceedings under way, kicking off on a sunny Sunday morning. Harmony Row would go on to dominate the opening exchanges and the first attempt on goal fell to their attacker Thomas Seagrave.
A few minutes into the game Seagrave collected the ball just outside the box and fired a shot narrowly wide of the left side of the goal.
Rowan Gibson then went close for Harmony, bursting down the left wing and driving into the box, but tapped a tame effort wide of the near post.
Harmony then got the goal that their opening display merited. Rossvale right back Ryan Martin headed a cross-field ball away from goal, only for the ball to land at the feet of Harmony’s Ross MacKenzie at the edge of the box. MacKenzie did well to beat two defenders before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.
MacKenzie came close to adding to his tally just two minutes later, glancing Robbie Lennon’s corner just over the bar from around eight yards out.
The game’s next chance fell to Seagrave after a lovely chipped through ball from Reece Johnston. The forward broke into the box and fired a first-time strike at goal but couldn’t keep his shot down.
Rossvale struggled to break down the Harmony Row defence and eventually created an opening after 25 minutes. Left back Liam Johnson received the ball 30 yards from goal and fired a high shot towards the Harmony goal, but goalkeeper Matthew Boyle was able to catch the ball and held it well.
The Rossvale defence struggled to deal with Harmony Row’s long balls throughout the first half and Gibson went close to getting his team’s second after a good ball forward from Charlie Freedman. Freedman fired the ball to the far post from near the halfway line and Gibson tapped the ball just wide of the left post.
Rossvale’s best chance of the first half fell to Riess Blair when the ball fell at his feet following Christopher McLeod’s corner. The ball fell to Blair at the edge of the box but he fizzed a right-footed shot wide of the left post.
Harmony Row then grabbed a second goal shortly before half-time. Seagrave broke into the box, slid a clever pass through to Gibson on the left, who then knocked the ball back for Freedman who was unmarked around twelve yards from goal. The forward then fired a high left foot shot into the top right corner.
Celtic had enjoyed the better of recent encounters, winning the last three, without conceding a goal. However, it was Rangers who topped the group section and stunned their cup final rivals with a 6-1 victory at Lennoxtown Training Centre in February. On that evening hat-tricks for Owen McGinty and Matt Yates settled the tie, but with a glance at cup final team-sheet it was evident that neither they nor any of the players from two months back were to be involved. That match was presumably used as an outing for younger players within the clubs’ academy setups, given both teams had already qualified for the final. Neither side dropped a single point in eight matches against other competing teams, Queens Park and Partick Thistle.
The teams lined up on a mild night in Maryhill, with plenty of familiar faces from the national youth ranks on show. Many of the players on both sides were part of Scotland’s 2016 Victory Shield squad and no less than eight had just been named in Scot Gemmill’s squad for Euro 2017. Zak Rudden, Jordan Houston and Lewis Mayo of Rangers; Daniel Church, Jack Aitchison, Kerr McInroy, Stephen Welsh and Robbie Deas of Celtic.
The match kicked off at a high tempo, with both sides keen to assert their authority in the opening exchanges. The first chance fell to Celtic, with Jack Aitchison making an early impact and setting up Ewan Henderson, who saw his effort excellently blocked by Jordan Houston.
Celtic were beginning to move into the ascendency and only an excellent save from Gers goalkeeper Brian Kinnear denied Patrick Campbell the opening goal. However, the deadlock was not far away from being broken. Again it was Aitchison’s creative influence that created the opening and after his initial shot was saved by Kinnear, Henderson was on hand to knock home the rebound.
Rangers took a while to find their feet but after stemming the early tide, midway through the half they went close. Zak Rudden produced a sharp turn and shot, but Ryan Mullen was equal to it, saving with his legs.
The Hoops continued to probe, but in the closing stages of the half it was Rangers who came on strong. With a few minutes remaining until the interval recent Scotland debutant Dapo Mebude cut the ball back to Houston, but the Gers captain couldn’t find the target. Two minutes later, the equalising goal came. Billy Gilmour showed a glimpse of why he has wonderkid status, before picking out Stephen Kelly, who in turn found Matthew Shiels. The Gers forward made no mistake, drilling the ball into the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the box to ensure the sides went into the break level.
Rutherglen Glencairn are through to the final of the Scottish Cup after a narrow victory over Tower Hearts. Jordan Davidson was alive to a loose ball in the Tower Hearts box to slot home the only goal of a tense match, with the defeated side missing a number of opportunities in the second half.
With so much to play for, it was no surprise that both teams looked nervy in the opening stages and struggled to retain possession. The Glens fashioned the first chance of the match after neat build-up play down the left saw David Quinn feed Anton Phinn, but the forward fired wide. And just a couple of minutes later Njablo Ndlovu fizzed one by the same post from distance.
The best attacks for both sides were coming down the left. Michael McLarne twice got in behind the Glens backline but couldn’t quite make anything happen for Tower Hearts. They were the first side to get the ball in the back of the net when Scott Cameron headed home, but he was penalised for a challenge on Chris Truesdale in the Rutherglen goal.
Tower Hearts should have taken the lead when David Seagrave latched on to a ball over the top, but the striker seemed to hesitate and rather than take the chance first time, he laid it back to Cameron. By that time however, Glens defenders were getting back behind the ball and Cameron’s shot took a deflection, taking the sting out of it and allowing a comfortable save for Truesdale.
The keeper launched a quick counter attack and it was time for Glens to be frustrated by a good block, Lee Martin preventing Ndlovu’s shot from troubling the goalie.
Rangers sauntered to heavy victory over arch-rivals Celtic at Lennoxtown Training Centre in the Glasgow Cup, coming out 6-1 winners on a wet Wednesday night.
After surviving a brief period of pressure from their hooped opponents, Rangers took control of the match and hat-tricks for Owen McGinty and Matt Yates meant there rivals never had a look in. Celtic’s consolation from Michael Sparkes had given them some semblance of hope at 2-1, but Rangers were far more clinical when it mattered.
The opening quarter of an hour suggested that the home side would have the better of the tie and that they had adapted to the uncomfortable conditions quicker than Rangers, and winger Owen Moffat was dazzling down the right. Jinking past defenders, cutting inside to play inch-perfect through balls and crosses, Moffat was the star of the show early on and had Sparkes and Paul Kennedy provided better finishes to his passes, Celtic may have got the early momentum.
Instead it was Rangers who found the breakthrough a quarter of the way through the game. Captain Cieran Dickson played a neat one-two with Murray Miller that left the Celtic defender forced to foul, and up stepped McGinty to hit a clever free-kick under the wall, deceiving Ryan Mullen in the Celtic goal and nestling in the back of the net.
As quickly as it was one, it was two. McGinty again the scorer but it was all about the pass from Kai Kennedy, allowing him to cut inside and find the target.
Rangers were playing with a speed and purpose that meant although Celtic had the majority of the possession, as soon as a player in blue picked it up he was looking for a forward pass, a ball over the top, a way to outfox the Celtic backline. And it was working.
However, there was no chance Moffat was going to let this game go without a fight. He had taken a few heavy knocks from Rangers players but was still willing to take them on, and beat them more often than not. So it proved just a few minutes after Rangers second as he worked his way into the box, and with the shot on, he smartly rolled the ball across goal for Sparkes to spark what they hoped would be a comeback.
Celtic were certainly reignited by the goal and when Moffat played in Scott Cusick they could almost taste the equaliser, but Lewis Buoinackus made an important stop at his near post.
The importance of the chance was underlined when, minutes before half-time, Yates ghosted in at the back post taking the defence completely unaware to knock home Dickson’s cross and restore the two goal lead.
Rangers swept aside Queen’s Park in the Glasgow Cup with a Zak Rudden hat-trick inspiring them to a relaxed 6-0 victory. It took Rudden and Rangers just seven minutes to open the scoring and they never looked back from there, with their goalkeeper Billy Kinnear a virtual spectator throughout. The impressive Daniel Finlayson added to an assured and confident performance at the back by getting the second, with Matifadza Zata and Matthew Shiels ensuring that victory was beyond doubt before the half-time whistle. Rudden completed his hat-trick with goals at the start and end of the second half to put some extra gloss on the scoreline.
The opening five minutes gave no indication of the whitewash to follow as both teams probed one another and had a corner apiece, but it didn’t take long before an individual piece of brilliance from Rudden set Rangers on their way.
Skilfully cutting inside down the right, he danced along the by-line, using stepovers to twist and turn between three defender before beating Elliot Anderson at his near post with a fierce shot.
Credit to Queen’s Park, they didn’t let their heads drop at the first sign of trouble and carved out what would be their best opportunity of the match in response. A throw-in down the left hand side went to Ronan McLaughlin who held play up and set-up Declan Walsh on the edge of the penalty box for an effort that looked destined for the far top corner before curling away at the last moment.
Having only narrowly been beaten 2-1 by Rangers earlier in the season, Queen’s would have felt they were capable of getting back into this but it proved to be a costly miss as Rangers began to impress their superiority on the visitors, with Billy Gilmour forcing Anderson into a good save with his legs. The resulting corner should have put Rangers two ahead but Finlayson’s header went just wide.
Even at this early stage, centre back Finlayson looked a tough prospect for Queen’s Park to bypass. A good reader of the game, he was quick to intercept their forward passes and strong in the tackle if it came to it. Although not wearing the captain’s armband, he was talkative, marshalling his teammates, and organising those in front of him.
He was also proving a serious danger from set-pieces and if he improved his heading accuracy he could easily have grabbed three or four goals for himself in this match. As it was he gave Rangers some breathing space by scoring the second from close range. Rudden took a short corner with Gilmour whose shot from the corner of the penalty box looked to be heading in but Finlayson made sure by nodding home under pressure.
Much like the Rangers first team, their u17s played a fluid 4-3-3 formation with Rudden the tip of the spear and Zata and Shiels down the flanks around him but willing to swap sides or drop deeper as the supporting Gilmour and Cameron Palmer came forward.
Zata was the quietest of the front three in the first half but he lit the game up with a magnificent curling effort into the top corner just after the half hour mark. Anderson was at full stretch on the dive but could do nothing about it.
It was hard to see a way back for Queen’s Park from three down and it would have been worse were it not for the heroics of Lewis Magee. The Queen’s captain was proving his worth with a series of important tackles and blocks at the back as Rangers poured forward. Both Rudden and Zata were denied almost certain goals thanks to the intervention of Magee.
Queen’s thought they’d found a lifeline when Andy McLaughlin put the ball in the back of the net but he was ruled offside. Rangers would then also see the linesman’s flag deny them a goal when Shiels looked to be scoring after great skill from Gilmour, only for Zata to be penalised for trying to steal what already looked like a certain goal. It was a half of contrasts for Zata who showed flashes of brilliance and madness in equal parts.
There was nothing but brilliance from Rudden however and he played a major part in the final move of the half, delightfully dummying a through ball, taking out the defence and allowing Shiels to get through one-on-one and finish through Anderson’s legs.
A cold wet evening in Lochinch Playing Fields provided the stage for a City of Glasgow Cup clash between Queens Park and Partick Thistle. The conditions were perfect for both side’s youngsters to put their talent on display.
Queens Park gained the upper hand in the opening few minutes, showing tidy and patient football, Partick on the other hand offered a much more physical threat. Thistle adopted a 3-5-2 formation throughout the first half, a tactic that seems to be prominent throughout the majority of their age groups.
It was Queens who drew first blood, when an angled pass was fired into the feet of Arron Mooney who raced down the inside left channel, cut inside to beat the central defender, and slotted the ball underneath the ‘keeper to open the scoring for the away side.
The physical aspect of the game was very much present, collisions and meaty challenges constantly on the table, although the referee clearly tried to allow the game to flow, despite having to deal with a high number of fouls.
Queens 4-2-3-1 shape proved to be a handful for the Thistle group, and their high-energy style and constant pressing was proving a real thorn in the side of Thistle, who really struggled to create clear-cut chances as a result.
The second goal was a result of this pressing, with the lively Arron Black chasing, harrying, and making life uncomfortable for Partick’s players. A stray ball kindly dropped to centre forward Ronan McLauchlin, who found himself with time and space, and he calmly volleyed home to make it 2-0 to Queens.
Eventually the ball found itself into the Queens half, providing an opportunity for Thistle to get themselves back into the cup-tie. Thistle pressed with intent in the closing stages of the first 45, Gallasso giving everything to drag his team away from defeat. They couldn’t find their goal before half-time though, despite Grainger, Last and Galasso all combining well in possession, and using their width to attack Queens.
The cup-tie very much became a back and forth affair until James Grant, who was often the creative outlet for Queens, regained possession in the centre and angled a pass out to the lightning fast Mooney. Just as before, he cut inside and slid the ball across to Black, who smashed home to put his team three goals to the good, and dampen the spirits of the Thistle team.