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Dean Thistle U15s overcome Cumnock to lift the Wallace Gemmell Shield

Dean Thistle U15s excellently dispatched off fierce rivals Cumnock Juniors in the Wallace Gemmell Shield final, which was held at Troon FC’s Portland Park.

The two sides have been battling it out over the course of the season in the West of Scotland Youth Football League, with Cumnock sitting atop the U15s division – three points behind Dean Thistle.

The ‘Nock’s only loss domestically was against their opponents in this final, so they will be determined not to slip up against the Kilmarnock side once more.

As the referee’s whistle sounded on the West Coast, it was evident straight away that there was not much between the two teams in terms of quality.

Daniel Harvey had an early shooting chance for Dean, but defender David Kay blocked impressively.

Cumnock sought an early goal moments later after some trickery from Taylor Gordon saw him lose his marker and ping a pass wide to the left. Unfortunately for the black-and-white stripes, the threatening ball led to nothing.

Thistle’s number nine Harry Adams started to showcase his incredible pace around the ten-minute mark, hassling the Cumnock defender into two rushed clearances high in his own half.

The constant pressure in the final third from Charlie Adams’ side led to the Cumnock backline caving and Dean taking the lead. Left winger Harvey ghosted by a defender then emphatically released a strike across goal. The keeper had no chance, watching helplessly as the ball nestled in the back of his net.

The electric Harvey continued to cause danger in-and-around his opponent’s box. This time he saw his shot blocked by Lucas Campbell in the Cumnock goal.

Cumnock looked to get their grasp on the final after falling a goal behind. Gordon again showed his quality as he fired an effort from distance which unluckily veered wide of the target.

Following the chance, the South Ayrshire side regained possession and midfielder Aston Harrison accurately slipped the lively Gordon through on goal. The attacker looked to cooly place the ball in the far corner but was thwarted by a diving Calum Hamilton.

The Dean frontline began to come to life once more. Their driving force, centre forward Harry Adams, evaded a wave of challenges and rounded the onrushing Campbell. His shot was blocked brilliantly on the line by a recovering Cumnock defender.

Looking to avenge his missed chance, Adams blasts a shot goalwards but this time goalie Campbell parries away. Unfortunately for the ‘keeper and his team, the loose ball fell to goalscorer Harvey who snatched his second of the game to put Dean Thistle 2-0 up.

With the first half in its closing stages, the trailing side lodged an attack to give them a lifeline heading into the second 45. Gordon picked up the ball in a dangerous area and picked an excellent pass to his advancing teammate Michael McCann. The winger’s one-on-one chance was squandered as he aimed too high.

It was immediately forgotten after McCann won possession following Dean’s goal kick. The Cumnock wide-man decided to test Hamilton between the sticks and fooled him with a dipping effort to give his team some hope.

The second period commenced with Cumnock pushing for their equaliser in this game with such importance. Drew Kilpatrick cleverly looked to roll the ball into the bottom right corner, but Hamilton’s cat-like reflexes prevented a sure goal thanks to his outstretched left foot.

On the hour mark, the final broke into an incredible end-to-end affair with the next goal having undeniable significance in how the game would play out.

Adams looked to finally bag his cup final goal when he caught a volley on the half-turn, ultimately rocketing into the sky.

McCann showed off some acrobatics whilst pushing for a second for himself and Cumnock. As the ball looped in the air, he pulled an overhead kick out of his arsenal but fluffed his lines on the connection.

The pendulum of attack swung back towards Cumnock’s goal and, much to the crowd’s delight, saw Dean Thistle grabbing a third. Harvey, involved again, delivered a fantastic cross into Adams. The imposing striker gobbled up the chance with a cracking header.

Momentum was very much on the side of the men in red and blue following their third strike, and the ever-lively Harvey could’ve completed his hat trick if he got his header on target. After Struan Anderson progressed with pace down the right flank, he whipped an inviting cross towards the attacker, but he was left ruing the missed opportunity.

It was do-or-die now for Cumnock Juniors, as they flung forward plenty of jerseys in the hope of salvaging this massive fixture.

Dean’s Zander Paterson showed defensive awareness beyond his years to slide tackle an onrushing attacker and prevent a one-on-one chance for his opponents.

David Kay’s men persisted with their attacking play, with chances for Kilpatrick and Leyton McDicken agonisingly providing nothing for the U15 WoSYFL leaders.

The whistle then sounded as the sun broke out in Troon, with Dean Thistle jubilant knowing that they are now Wallace Gemmell Shield champions. It was an incredible battle contested between two teams who clearly know each other very well.

Cumnock Juniors Player of the Match: Michael McCann

McCann was the stand-out for his side in the Wallace Gemmell Shield final – always creating when he had the ball and constantly had the Dean defence backpedalling. He picked up some great spaces in and amongst the box and his goal was a blend of great awareness and exquisite execution.

Dean Thistle Player of the Match: Daniel Harvey

The livewire winger was an absolute pest for Cumnock to deal with throughout the 90 minutes as he showcased his pace, agility and goal-scoring prowess to much success. Bagging two goals and grabbing an assist in a game of such magnitude speaks for itself in how important this young man will be to his Dean Thistle side for many years to come.

Cumnock Juniors Magic Moment: McCann’s Long-Range Finish

Spotting the Dean keeper only a few yards off of his line, Michael McCann quickly released a rising shot over his head and into the back of the net. The crowd were in awe – as were twenty-one players on the park. McCann, however, knew exactly what he was doing.

Dean Thistle Magic Moment: Harvey and Adams Link-Up

The attacking pair demonstrated unmatched chemistry from minute one, but it was Dean Thistle’s third goal which properly highlighted how well these two work together. Without even raising his head, winger Harvey crossed with such accuracy that all Adams had to do was step forward and nod home.

Cumnock Juniors U15s

Lucas Campbell

Finlay Clark

Kyle Smith

Lewis Auld

David Kay

Rudi Young

Blake Reilly

Aston Harrison

Ruari Naismith

Taylor Gordon

Michael McCann

Sam Wallace

David McWilliams

Aron Anderson

Drew Kilpatrick

Leyton McDicken

Dean Thistle U15s

Calum Hamilton

Zander Paterson

Dylan Haro

Calum Marshall

Daniel William Johnston

Daniel Harvey

Riley Blue

Harry Adams

Marc Robertson

Struan Anderson

Logan Templeton

Daniel McBlane

Aaron Raeside

Rhys Cassells

Evan Darnbrough



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