Blantyre Soccer Academy have progressed to the second round of the U13s Scottish Cup with an emphatic win over Moorlands at Hamilton Palace.
They advanced courtesy of an excellent first-half hattrick from Cole Letham and a brace from Kyle Anderson. There were also strikes by Andrew Caldwell, Finlay Stewart, and Kealan Gahan.
A Leo Burns double proved only a consolation, but Moorlands can hold their heads high after succumbing to a team in the division above while still showcasing several impressive performances.
Blantyre made their intentions clear from the start with opposition goalkeeper Luke Melrose quickly called into action when wide man John McConachie headed for the byline but his effort was well cut out by the keeper.
Kyle Ramage then dug out a deep cross from right-back into Letham who got his shot away but Melrose held firm.
The players in black and yellow were really taking command of the match but could not find a way past the impressive Melrose. Captain Conor O’Hara, who shined in midfield with slick passing and commanding ball-winning, urged his teammates to find a clinical edge.
Moorlands, who were the home team for this one, may have been holding on, but still, they tried to play their game, building from the back with Elliot Ruddy showing good composure to bring the ball out of defence.
It looked as if the teams were edging towards half-time goalless, especially after Melrose and Ruddy combined to deny Letham a certain goal at the back post. Once the ball was saved by the goalie, Ruddy’s last-gasp challenge cleared the ball to safety.
But the deadlock was broken in the 26th minute when Caldwell, who had just seen a shot flash wide, pounced to fire his side in front with a cool finish into the bottom left corner from just inside the box.
This opened the floodgates as Letham began his quickfire scoring spree. His first came after being played in behind on the right before slotting home one-on-one. He was then in the right place at the right time to tap in the rebound from his strike partner Caldwell’s effort. And he completed his salvo with an empathic first-time finish with his right foot from close range to send his club into a commanding lead at the interval.
Blantyre centre-back Cole Stewart tried to get his name on the scoresheet after the break, with his towering 43rd-minute header from a corner sailing just wide of the post.
At the other end, the hosts proved that they were not about to let their heads drop as Burns showed blistering pace to evade the opposition’s defence before firing past Mackenzie Callaghan.
However, the visitors quickly restored their four-goal advantage when Anderson headed in from a few yards out following a set piece on the left.
And after some good pressing, Anderson grabbed his second in the 53rd minute, with the ball deflecting off him and into the net.
Stewart got in on the act three minutes later, curling a stunning effort into the far corner from distance.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Moorlands hit back once again. Burns found space just inside the left of the penalty area where he was met by substitute goalkeeper Zayn Simpson, who did well to narrow the angle. However, the striker superbly lobbed the ball into the goal for an impressive consolation.
The final goal of the match came for Blantyre when substitute Cameron Yard’s goal-bound shot was headed in from close range by Gahan.
Moorlands Player of the Match: Luke Melrose
The goalie put in a performance of the highest quality, despite the scoreline. He pulled off a string of wonderful saves throughout the match, some of which defied belief.
Blantyre SA Player of the Match: Cole Letham
couldn’t have wished for a better performance prior to this match as his first-half hat trick helped his side secure an impressive victory. His treble exemplified both composure and ruthlessness in a superb striking display.
Moorlands Magic Moment:
Leo Burns’ second goal may have just been a consolation but it was the best goal of the game. His nonchalant lob over the goalkeeper from just inside the box was expertly taken.
Blantyre SA Magic Moment:
Finlay Stewart showed great craftsmanship to curl the ball into the bottom right corner from just over 20 yards to net his team’s seventh goal.
3. Luke Melrose
4. Kerr Ellis
12. Liam Agnew
14. Michael Conway
16. Luca Phillips
19. Declan Shaw
21. Caleb MacMichael
22. Aaron O’Neill
23. Ethan Ruddy
25. Lewis Kenny
26. Lewis Brawley
27. Dylan McGinley
29. Matthew Robertson
30. Leo Burns
Blantyre SA U13s
1. Mackenzie Callaghan
2. Franco Cocozza
3. John McConachie
4. Cole Stewart
6. Calum Law
7. Finlay Stewart
8. Conor O’Hara
9. Cole Letham
10. Cameron Yard
11. Stefan Tierney
12. Kealan Gahan
13. Zayn Simpson
14. Jacob Bordon
15. Charlie Watt
16. Kyle Graeme Ramage
18. Kyle Anderson
19. Aidan Crosby
20. Andrew Caldwell
/ 1 week ago
Harmony Row’s U13s welcomed St Cadoc’s to a rainy Sir Alex Ferguson Park on...