Blantyre Victoria have secured a league and cup double with a final victory over Bellshill Athletic.
Quickfire goals from Cameron Ramage and Aaron Kielty fired them into the ascendency. A late second-half strike by Cian Kinney sealed the deal, delivering the team in blue the Central Lanarkshire Youth Football Association League Cup – their second trophy of the season after also recently clinching the league title.
Blantyre Vics got off to a storming start, breaking the deadlock inside the fifth minute. Centre-forward James Doyle flicked the ball on brilliantly for Ramage to run through one-on-one. Belshill goalkeeper Alexander Clark rushed off his line to narrow the angle, but Ramage nonchalantly lobbed the ball over him to put his side in front.
And it was 2-0 just minutes later when Ramage turned provider for teammate Kielty. The two combined brilliantly down the left-hand side with the latter finishing coolly past the keeper’s left. It was a tight call for the officials, but the goal stood.
The Black and Yellows looked to hit back straight away. A cross from the left was cleared by Blantyre’s Ross Lockhart only as far as Euan Ross, but his shot from the edge of the box flashed just wide.
Noah Sanders then looked to add a third at the other end, showing great feet to drive into the area. His effort, though, was gathered well by Clark.
The game would have been out of sight for Bellshill Athletic in the first half if it wasn’t for some great defending by Kyle Fleming in the 16th minute. The right-back was in the right place at the right time after a cross to head away an effort with his goalie beaten – denying a certain goal.
There was a claim for a penalty from Blantyre Victoria halfway through the opening period. In another difficult decision, Doyle looked to have been clipped just inside the box, but the referee played on.
The first half eventually settled down, with both teams cancelling each other out as they headed into the break.
And it was the side which were behind in the final who created the first chance after the restart. A long ball into the box was brought down excellently by Luke Mackie, however, Ross Swinburn in the Blantyre goal was there to gather the shot.
His opposite number between the sticks was later called into action. The effective partnership of Ramage and Kielty combined once again, but this time the stopper denied them. Ramage got to the byline and set up what would have been a double for his teammate if only it wasn’t for the stunning close-range reflexes of Clark.
This save seemed to inspire his teammates who soon had two good chances. Firstly, a direct pass in the 53rd minute breached the Vics’ defence and fell to Ronan Boyes, but Swinburn was there again.
And the goalkeeper had to retain his concentration, tipping a Boyes free kick from distance over the bar.
Blantyre Vics substitute Kinney grabbed the third eight minutes from time. He bore down on goal from the right, showing great strength to get away from his man and roll the ball past the keeper’s bottom right. This was despite the valiant efforts of Bellshill captain Logan Cross to keep it out on the line.
Kinney went in hunt of a second moments later, but his shot from distance was held by Clark.
Bellshill Athletic Player of the Match: Kyle Fleming
The right-back put in a great shift for his side, contributing defensively and going forward throughout the match with energy and determination. His great goal-line clearance in the first half kept his team in it.
Blantyre Victoria Player of the Match: Cameron Ramage
The attacking midfielder put in the performance of the highest order. With a goal and an assist in a cup final, he couldn’t have wished for a better individual performance. He also showed good feet and intricate passing throughout.
Bellshill Athletic Magic Moment: Super Save
Bellshill keeper Clark’s stunning save in the second half ensured the game remained a contest. His superb reflexes stopped a third well before time.
Blantyre Victoria Magic Moment: Start as you mean to go on
When the Vics amazingly opened the scoring inside just five minutes with a sumptuous chip from Ramage, they put themselves firmly in the driving seat in the final.
Bellshill Atheltic U16s
1. Alexander Clark
2. Kyle Fleming
3. Nicholas Kirkland
4. Ronan Boyes
5. Mikee Newell
6. Logan Cross
7. Luke Mackie
8. Harvey Prentice
9. Jayden Woodlock
10. Euan Ross
11. Emmanuel Hyde
12. Lewis Macredy
14. Jack Breen
15. Harrison Scott
17. Liam Whittaker
18. Charlie Harding
19. Luke McAulay
Blantyre Victoria U16s
1. Ross Swinburn
2. Lyall Govan
6. Cameron Ramage
7. Ashton Cain
8. Ross Lockhart
10. Adam Cook
14. Jayden Brannan
15. Noah Sanders
16. James Doyle
18. Jake Pettigrew
20. Cian Kinney
22. Aaron Kielty
26. Lewis Mcintosh
28. Adam Morrison
29. Calvin Ronald
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