It was a cold and misty morning at Inchyra Park in Grangemouth but Central Boys FA’s league encounter with Bonnybridge Youth FC offered a ray of sunshine to warm up the spectators. Three goals at the conclusion of the first half were followed by a further five in the second, confirming the early suggestions that both teams had turned up to play attacking football.
Neither side required time to settle into the match and within the opening minute Bonnybridge had almost opened the scoring. Louis Reid raced clear in a swift counter-attack but arrowed his effort narrowly wide of the left-hand post. Central Boys responded almost immediately and opened the scoring in the 3rd minute. It was Jack Hanlon who would find himself on the end of a threaded through ball and outmuscling his marker, the nippy striker displayed immense composure to slot the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
Bonnybridge continued to combine well as they sought an equaliser, focusing on possession and two-touch football. A great piece of improvisation by Caleb McNeil in the 7th minute allowed the player to turn his marker and find space in the box but his effort dropped just wide of the left-hand post.
Central Boys were the next to exchange consecutive blows in the 13th minute as Hanlon nodded the ball on for Raymond Sloan who lobbed the ball just past the post. Minutes later Jack Shand began to ask questions of Bonnybridge, expertly crossing from the right to supply Hanlon with an opportunity to put Central further in front. Hanlon diverted his header on target but Bonnybridge goalkeeper Luke Milne produced an excellent stop with his feet before the defence cleared.
It was end to end stuff as Bonnybridge mounted an attack in the 20th minute, McNeil knocking the ball past his marker before delicately placing the ball into the path of Reid. The striker drove towards goal but Central Boys goalkeeper Rory Windross managed to make enough contact with McNeil’s effort to kill the pace on the ball and allow his defence to dramatically clear the ball off the line. Agonisingly close for the away team.
Reid was rewarded for his persistence, however, when in the 22nd minute he broke clear on the left. The striker confidently rounded the goalkeeper and stroked the ball into the net to level proceedings.
Central Boys were ahead again in the 27th minute, however, scoring the last clear-cut chance of the half. The ball was played with precision from the right wing into the stride of Sloan, who calmly finished the move and made it 2-1 going into the half-time break.