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Broughton's Balde inspires National Shield win

Grange Academy 2

Gilmour 9', 12'

Broughton High School 3

Combe 4', Reilly 34', Gaff 60'

Simon Ritchie | YFS West Region Reporter
Articles by Author | Contact Author

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A topsy-turvy SSFA Shield final at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium was eventually won by Broughton High School who triumphed 3-2 over Grange Academy.

Broughton went ahead within the first five minutes through Matty Combe, but saw the lead disappear not even five minutes later when Billy Gilmour equalised for Grange. Gilmour then put his side ahead with a back post header only for Broughton to get back on level terms before half time thanks to Michael Reilly.

The only goal of the second half turned out to be the winner, Kris Gaff scoring it after some fantastic play from man of the match Joao Balde.

With Grange Academy impressing in their semi final hammering of St. John’s, whose under 18 side won the Senior Shield, they would have been full of confidence going into this match but their confidence and preparation took a beating as Broughton took the lead early on.

A free kick from the middle of the park was held up well by Gaff, bringing it down and allowing Balde to lay it off for Combe to guide it low into the bottom corner past the diving David Wilson.

It was the ideal start for Broughton whose vociferous support were proudly backing their side but the game was turned on its head in a three minute spell that saw Grange take the lead.

Captain Josh Walker led by example, driving forward through the middle of the park unchallenged, with Jamie Nielson acting as a makeshift blocker like something you’d see in American Football, tangling with a defender and preventing the challenge, giving Walker the space to enter the box and get his shot away. His effort struck the crossbar but fell kindly to Gilmour who had the presence of mind to take his time and pick his spot.

Then, barely a few minutes later, right back David Stark’s cross was inch-perfect to the back post where Gilmour was marked but unchallenged to head home his and his side’s second.

The momentum was well and truly with Grange now and Harry Cochrane gallivanted through the middle of Broughton’s defence unhindered, firing off a shot from the edge of the box that forced a smart stop from Chris Peden.

Nielson showed a glimpse of the technical side of his game when he beautifully turned defender Owen Barnes but the Broughton centre half recovered magnificently to get in a tackle and prevent the scoring opportunity.

It might have been the most important moment of the match as the tide shifted towards Broughton shortly after. Balde’s floated pass over the top almost put through Combe but Stark read the danger well and came across to intercept.

No Grange defender could do anything though when Reilly and Gaff combined down the right wing, exchanging passes as they entered the box before Reilly found the finish to level the scores.

All square at half time was a fair reflection on an even match with both teams hungry to win and clearly giving 100%, with the referee having to step in to calm things down after a few tasty challenges.

Grange came out the traps quickest in the second half, Walker finding himself in acres of space in the Broughton box following a long ball that seemed to completely catch out the defence, but he forced himself wide and when he eventually turned and shot it was comfortably saved.

Cochrane also forced a decent save from Peden but as happened in the first half, Grange were made to pay for their profligacy.

What looked like a lost cause out by the left corner flag was turned into a match winning goal thanks to the industry and determination of Balde. He showed great strength and skill to go from having his back to goal on the touchline to turning past the defender and running towards goal, then finding Gaff at the back post with his cross. Gaff couldn’t quite get it under control, at first, but he managed to cut inside the box, shoot back across the 'keeper and into the back of the net.

From the way the rest of the match had gone you would have expected that to now be a lead for Broughton to defend as Grange came at them, but instead it was Broughton who looked likelier to add to their lead and Balde was at the heart of everything.

He almost got on the end of Cammy O’Donnell’s ball over the top but Taylor Wilson pulled off a great tackle in the box, then Balde beat three players, twisting and turning through the middle before his shot was stopped by David Wilson with the save of the match, diving low to his right to prevent the goal.

David Wilson was at it again to prevent O’Donnell with his legs and Taylor Wilson scrambled it away, then David pulled off his third good save in quick succession by racing off his line and smothering the ball at the feet of Balde.

Grange simply couldn’t get out of their own half and mount an attack because the Broughton midfield were winning absolutely everything that came close to them and then instantly mounting quick attacks using the pace of Balde to get behind.

With time running out however they came within a whisker of an equaliser. A free kick from just inside the Broughton half was sent deep into the box, Peden failed to hold it and it fell to Elliot Kershaw who watched in agony as his shot hit the crossbar and bounced clear.

The last couple of minutes saw Grange throw everything forward, Ross Love getting a shot away after a quick free kick but Peden was down low to save.

Then the final action of the game saw Grange with a free kick on the left hand side of the box. With everyone including the keeper forward, Cochrane found Kershaw at the back post but his header didn’t have enough power to beat Peden and the full time whistle shortly after crowned Broughton as deserving winners.


Grange Academy
Broughton High School
1. David Wilson
2. David Stark
3. Ross Love
4. Sam Corson
5. Taylor Wilson
6. Harry Cochrane
7. Jordan Moffat
8. Billy Gilmour
9. Jamie Nielson
10. Josh Walker
11. Lyle Adrian
12. Elliot Kershaw
14. Cameron Wilson
1. Chris Peden
2. Ryan MacKenzie
3. Michael Reilly
4. Fynlay Connor
5. Owen Barnes
6. Kris Gaff
7. Cammy O'Donnell
8. Luke Cunningham
9. Craig Henderson
10. Matty Combe
11. Joao Balde
12. Robbie Ashdown-Adams
13. Jude Zietara
14. Joe Coats
15. Callum Reynolds
16. Joe Jeffrey
Star Player
Grange Academy
Broughton High School
Billy Gilmour - Grabbed a double to put Grange into the lead early on, showing good composure and finishing with his goals, unfortunately for him they just couldn't hold on.
Joao Balde - Might not have got on the scoresheet but his relentless running and work-rate was what gave his team mates the opportunity to get into positions themselves. His pace was a nightmare for the defence in the second half and if it wasn't for some great goalkeeping he would have found a deserved goal.
Magic Moment
Grange Academy
Broughton High School
Gilmour's second goal was the result of an inch-perfect cross from David Stark, the right back picking him out at the back post and leaving him with a simple finish.
The winning goal was all about Balde refusing to give up and showing some great skill to beat his man and deliver a great ball for Kris Gaff who did well to find the finish.

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