Harmony Row’s U16s welcomed Bridge of Weir to Sir Alex Ferguson Park on Saturday morning. The sun was splitting the trees for the tie in which three vital Paisley Johnstone and Youth District League Division 3 points were up for grabs.
The hosts, who sat comfortably in fourth in the table heading into the match, had won four out of their previous five including an impressive 3-2 away triumph at Barrhead YFC Yellow last month. Bridge of Weir won 2-1 against Drumchapel last time out and when these two sides last met, it was Harmony Row who walked away with a 5-3 win in an enthralling encounter.
On Saturday, despite a lesser number of goals, the match was still as entertaining as the two sides played out a tightly fought 1-1 draw.
In the opening stages, there were several opportunities. Scott Johnston headed just wide for Harmony Row after a lovely in-swinging delivery before Max McGowan’s effort shot just over the bar in the 6th minute. Another chance was presented to the hosts in the 10th minute when the ball broke to Jamie Farish on the edge of the box. The number six was unfortunate not to convert.
It is fair to say that Harmony Row were rather intuitive early on, however, Bridge of Weir did manufacture some opportunities of their own. A free kick from deep for the visitors led to a snapshot from Harry Brodlie in the box. This chance seemed to give Bridge of Weir more encouragement and they began to get themselves more into the game.
Aiden Scarff threaded a lovely ball through for Archie McManus, but the wide man just could not reach it in the end. Right-back Robbie McQuade then lofted a wonderful ball over the top of the Harmony Row defence for McManus to latch on to. Liam Broughton in the hosts’ goal, though, was quick off his line to make a smart save.
Brodlie then got free on the left for Bridge of Weir and his near post effort once more called Broughton into action. The Harmony Row keeper made another ample save.
Following 40 minutes of football that was jam-packed full of chances for both sides, the referee blew his whistle for half-time.
After a short break, the teams re-emerged for the second half with the sun basking Sir Alex Ferguson Park in a ray of light. The hosts kicked off and just moments into the second period, rattled the bar after a set play.
Bridge of Weir heeded the warning and responded by running up the park to win a corner of their own. An out-swinging delivery met the foot of Harmony Row’s Mason Oneil before the ball trickled into the net. The hosts had an impressive 1-0 lead on 48 minutes.
This goal seemed to galvanise Harmony Row. Churchill Ibeh, who made an impactful difference off the bench at half-time, was adjudged to be onside after getting in behind the Bridge of Weir defence. His prodigious lobbed effort, however, went just wide. After Ibeh’s opportunity, Adam Butt went close for the hosts. He cut in from the left with a magnificent solo run, but the lively winger’s strike was met by a strong hold from the Bridge of Weir keeper.
Harmony Row clearly began to get into their groove after going one down. Bridge of Weir defended amply but with around 20 to go, Ibeh got free in the box. The vivacious striker, who was not afraid to put himself about, had a shot on goal which rattled the post but then ricocheted off the Bridge of Weir keeper. It was touch and go whether the ball was over the line or not but in the end, the referee gave the goal. Ibeh had teammates rallied and ran back to the halfway line in search of a go-ahead goal.
And that goal almost came in the final ten. Ibeh was involved once more. The ball fell to the striker at the back post and a goal looked almost certain until Rocco Cooper heroically got his body in the way to keep the scoreline level.
Despite mounting Harmony Row pressure, Bridge of Weir always looked a threat on the counter. There was indeed a chance for the visitors on the break with around five minutes left to play but Farish defended stoutly.
In the dying embers, the hosts pushed for a winner. Max McGowan’s cross kissed the bar before Bridge of Weir got the ball clear just in time. The last chance of the 80 minutes fell to Ibeh. He unleashed a venomous shot from distance although it was just off target. Following this, the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the match which all in all, was a greatly entertaining affair.
Both sides looked to attack with each both netting deserved goals. A 1-1 draw was a fair result in the end. Going forward, Bridge of Weir have just one league game left this season meanwhile Harmony Row have quite few to play before the campaign’s end, starting with a home tie against Carolside Sports Club next weekend.
Harmony Row Man of the Match: Churchill Ibeh
Brought on at half time, Churchill Ibeh undoubtedly made a noticeable impact on the game. The striker was a constant in attack for Harmony Row in the second half and catalysed his side’s crucial leveller. He was ever-lively up top for the hosts and on another day, may well have had a few more goals.
Bridge of Weir Man of the Match: Robbie McQuade
Turning out at right back for Bridge of Weir, Robbie McQuade showed stoutness in defence as well as creativity in attack. The defender played some terrific balls out from the back and endured an entertaining battle with Harmony Row winger Adam Butt.
Harmony Row Magic Moment: Ibeh equaliser
For Harmony Row’s magic moment, it would be difficult not to go with Churchill Ibeh’s goal. As alluded to, the striker was impressive after coming off the bench at half-time and got an invaluable equaliser for his side midway through the second 45. His goal sent his teammates into a frenzy of motivational shouts as they rallied back towards their own half to go again. Ibeh thoroughly deserved his goal with his performance.
Bridge of Weir Magic Moment: Cooper goal-line clearance
When Harmony Row were on top and going for a goal to put themselves ahead, Bridge of Weir captain Rocco Cooper stepped up and led by example from defence. Ibeh was rather unfortunate not to get his brace although Cooper was brave and heroic, putting his body on the line and in the way to keep his team level.
Harmony Row U16s:
1. Liam Broughton
2. Craig MaConnacher
3. Mason O’neil
6. Jamie Farish
9. Arran Grant
11. Scott Johnston
12. Travis O’Brian
13. Kyran Duffy
14. Mitchel Newall
15. Max McGowan
16. Rhys Pugh
17. Ryan Mcinally
18. Adam Butt
19. Brandon Reid
20. Churchull Ibeh
Bridge of Weir U16s:
2. Robbie McQuade
4. Rocco Cooper
7. William Martin
8. Marcus MacCormack
9. Kyle Laurie
10. Harry Brodlie
11. Zach Patton
12. Aiden Scarff
14. Archie McManus
15. Cian Quinn
16. Cillian MacQuarrie
18. Ross Bradford
19. Mac Steele
20. Finlay Martin
21. Jonny Watson
/ 2 weeks ago
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