Shettleston Juniors thumped Notre Dame Soccer Academy in the Glasgow and District under 14s league clash in Glasgow on Sunday afternoon.
Juniors raced into a four-goal lead within the first eight minutes in a blistering start to the game and did well to keep control of the match throughout.
Notre Dame kicked off on a sunny afternoon at Springburn’s Petershill Park and immediately highlighted their passing ability. Some slick footwork, twinned with good movement, saw Notre Dame pull Shettleston over the park but failed to create a meaningful chance in the opening five minutes.
It was Shettleston, however, who would open the scoring. Attacker Jamie Andrew won the ball on the right wing and fired a low cross towards the back post where Kalvin Higgins was waiting. The centre forward took a touch before firing a low shot towards the near post beyond the despairing Nathan Dawson in goal for Notre Dame.
Juniors wouldn’t have to wait long for a second and had the ball in the Notre Dame net again just a minute later. Andrew took a long throw on the right that cleared the defence and sent Alexander Ballantyne bearing down on goal. Dawson saved his initial effort, but Andrew pounced on the rebound to increase the scoring.
Two minutes later Shettleston had another, courtesy of Andrew again. A lofted ball from midfield sent Andrew through for a one-on-one with the onrushing Dawson. The goalkeeper rushed outside his box before Andrew showed great composure to gently lift the ball over the Notre Dame keeper, sprint past him and tap the ball into an empty net.
The home side kept up the early assault and grabbed a fourth with eight minutes on the clock. Again, Andrew was heavily involved. Some good work down the right led to a low cross into the box from the winger, finding Higgins in the box with his back to goal. The striker used his physicality to hold off a challenge from the Notre Dame defence before teeing up Jack Hutcheon, whose lofted shot bounced in off the top left corner of the frame of the goal.
The visitors were struggling to deal with Shettleston’s pace up front and the problem was exacerbated by the high line the defence insisted on operating. Joshua Harvie and Harris Simpson caught the eye for Notre Dame, but struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Juniors then could have added another if not for the exceptional reflexes of Dawson. Andrew’s cross from the right reached Ballantyne in the box – the attacker took a touch to control the ball before lashing a powerful effort at goal, but Dawson reacted very well to parry the ball behind for a corner.
The away side then came within inches of clawing a goal back. A wonderful through ball sent striker Ross Condy free of the Shettleston defence, driving towards the Juniors goal. Condy probably should have gone himself but unselfishly tried to tee up a teammate, only for Shettleston centre back Aiden Lawson to slide in and win the ball at the last moment. Had Lawson mistimed his interception, Notre Dame would surely have scored.
Then just two minutes later Notre Dame were made to pay for their missed opportunity. A long throw from the left-hand side bounced twice, evading the Notre Dame defence, before falling kindly for Higgins in the box. The striker pivoted and coolly slotted the ball past Dawson.
Harvie and Simpson continued to provide hope for the away side, combining particularly well down the left of Notre Dame’s attack. However, Shettleston’s Kyle Edger was in imperious form in central defence – the young stopper was a rock at the back for Juniors, snuffing out any dangerous play and reducing Notre Dame’s opportunities to a minimum.
With 22 minutes on the clock, Higgins secured his hat-trick. This time Ballantyne broke down the left before firing in a cross towards the back post where Higgins was waiting. On this occasion, the striker hit a first-time shot that gave Dawson little chance of stopping it.
The pace of the game dropped a little after the goal, with Shettleston happy to keep the ball in midfield and focus on dominating possession. For the rest of the half, chances were at a premium for either side.
Shettleston came close to extending their advantage before the half-time whistle following a corner from the left. Higgins was elected to take the set-piece and curled in a high, looping cross towards the middle of the box. Ballantyne won the header but his effort from 12 yards was smothered by Dawson.
Shortly afterwards, the referee blew his whistle and both sets of players jogged off the pitch.