Lanarkshire came from behind to win the Scottish Schools’ FA National Trophy against Paisley. Despite being 1-0 down at halftime through a Nathan Findlay goal, Lanarkshire were on top and their pressure eventually paid off in the second half when strikes from Jamie Robb, Baillie Hunter, and a Kian Marshall brace sealed the victory.
The game was a slow burner with little action in the opening quarter. Both sides were feeling one another out but struggling to create anything of substance, in part due to some great defending from both teams.
Paisley’s Tomas Brindley forced Kyle Miller into the first save of the match, with a neat turn and shot from the edge of the box, but the Lanarkshire 'keeper got down low to push it away. The same player had Miller worried when his inswinging corner sailed over the keeper’s head and struck the crossbar on its way out.
In one of their few attacks of the half, Lanarkshire thought they’d opened the scoring when Robb turned in Lewis Gracie’s fantastic through ball, but it was called offside to the disappointment of their support.
It was hard to see where a goal would come from, with both sides toiling creatively on a surprisingly warm night at Lesser Hampden, until a bit of skill down the right wing for Paisley opened the game right up. Ross McFarlane made it to the byline and put in a great cross that looked set to be knocked home by Matthew McCarthur but the striker’s shot was miscued, fortunately landing right in front of Findlay coming in at the back post who didn’t miss.
If anyone thought it would be the spark the game needed to come to life they were sorely mistaken. Lanarkshire huffed and puffed but although they had plenty of possession their final ball wasn’t up to scratch.
You could see the potential of a good team in Lanarkshire as they looked to pass into space, find runners, and play neat through balls but unfortunately the execution was a fraction off and Paisley were untroubled.
The closest Lanarkshire came to an equaliser in the first half was when Hunter’s corner fell at the feet of Robb at the back post but his shot was saved by Jack Donohoe.
A long range effort from McFarlane had Kyle Miller scrambling across the Lanarkshire goal but the keeper had plenty of time to keep his eye on it and pull off a diving stop to make sure his side went in at the break only a single goal down.