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Tower Hearts power to Scottish Cup final after overcoming Harmony Row

Harmony Row 0

Tower Hearts 2

Gauley 33 (pen), Smith 70
  • Sunday, 25 March 2018
  • New Tinto Park
  • Under 21´s
  • SYFA Scottish Cup

A confident performance from Tower Hearts secured a deserved place in the SYFA Scottish Cup final, after they overcame Harmony Row 2-0 at New Tinto Park on Sunday.

A first-half penalty from Stuart Gauley was added to by Sean Smith's late chip, as Tower put in a controlled display in a game that was wholehearted and energetic from the start.

This was the first time the sides have met this season, with Harmony Row top of the West of Scotland 21s Premier League table, and Tower down in third, with 15 points separating the sides. Harmony Row have played five games more than Tower.

The game certainly didn't disappoint, and from the first whistle it was full of energy, determination, and physical challenges as both sides looked to gain the upper hand early on.

Both sides created early opportunities. Within two minutes, Ciaran Mulcahy flicked a ball on for Josh Winton. He raced in behind down the left, but fired his first-time effort over the bar. 

Up the other end, a terrific swivel on the ball from Scott Cameron got him away down the right, but his low and powerful effort was well blocked.

Tower were causing problems down both flanks in the first 20 minutes with their crossing, particularly through the noticeable Aaron Graham, who seemed to pop up on either side and try to deliver crosses. Harmony Row's back-line were dealing well enough however.

The first half was a period really devoid of clear-cut chances. Many times both sides looked to have wriggled into some space in and around the box, but every defender on the pitch was ensuring they were getting important blocks on the opposition's shots. 

David Ramsey, who really grew into the game for Harmony Row down the right, was a constant menace throughout. However, his crosses weren't being profited upon when they did go into the Tower Hearts penalty area.

Winton came close with a free-kick that was curled over, before Hearts' Cameron glanced McIntyre's free-kick wide.

Winton again nearly sneaked an opener as he sent a low, curling effort towards the back post. Credit must go to Daniel McLean, who palmed the ball out of the area, and generally showed terrific ball-handling throughout.

The first big chance of the game came on the half-hour. Sean Monaghan controlled the ball well in the box after David Seagrave headed it into the area. However, on the turn, Monaghan slashed over.

Harmony Row then nearly immediately took the lead Cameron controlled Winton's clever pass, and, after cutting inside from the right, sent a low effort that was well-held by McLean.

The opener came 12 minutes before the break. Tower won a free-kick on the edge of the box, and when Cameron's powerful strike struck the wall, the referee saw a hand-ball offence and gave a penalty. It looked a little harsh on Harmony Row, but Stuart Gauley was composed from the spot to bury home the opener - hammering his shot down the middle.

The response from Harmony Row was positive. Twice, Ramsey got in down the right and sent teasing crosses into the box. However, both inviting deliveries went unmet by Harmony Row's front-men.

An equaliser nearly came on the stroke of half-time. Again, Ramsey found space down the right and crossed high into the area. Christopher Scott rose well but headed just wide as Tower got in at the break in front.

  • Half Time:
  • Harmony Row
  • 0-1
  • Tower Hearts

The second half started slowly, with no real chances to speak of in the first 15 minutes. Once again though, there was no lack of competitive edge in the contest as the tackles continued to fly in.

In the early stages, McLean showed good awareness to palm Mulcahy's powerful cross away, whilst Cameron lashed an effort from 25 yards well over.

Harmony Row's best bet of getting back into the game looked in the form of Ramsey. Again he was causing some real problems down the right, with Tower struggling to contain him. 

Thomas Seagrave was thrown on for the final 25 minutes to change things, and he brought more energy to Harmony Row going forward. Where they struggled, however, was using Seagrave's pace to full effect. Harmony Row failed to get the youngster running in behind the Tower defence, with solid defending from the Hearts back-line.

McLean continued to impress when called upon. Ramsey put several inviting deliveries into the box, but he was cool and composed when coming out to collect - making zero mistakes throughout. 

The game was put to bed with 20 minutes remaining, when Tower Hearts stormed into a 2-0 lead. Ryan McCreath tried to nod back to Calum Dillon in goal. Smith was alert to it though, and nipped in to chip Dillon and find the net to give Tower a healthy two-goal lead.

Almost immediately, Tower went down to 10 men when Gauley was sent off for a second bookable offence, leaving Tower with some defending to do for the final 18 minutes.

With eight minutes to go David Seagrave was also given his marching orders as Hearts finished the game with nine men.

Credit must go to Tower though, who continued to limit Harmony Row to long-distance efforts ad no space in behind their defence. McCreath gave it a go, but his effort was high and wide.

There were some openings for Harmony Row before the end. Michael Mulcahy came close to connecting with substitute Conor McCallister's back-post delivery, whilst another terrific cross from McCallister found Harry Glloway - whose cut-back was well gathered by McLean.

 

In the end, Harmony Row huffed and puffed but couldn't break the Tower Hearts defence down. It was a terrific defensive display in the final 20 minutes from Tower, who fully deserved their place in the Scottish Cup final.

For Harmony Row, they put in a determined display and gave it everything they had, but they just couldn't find that cutting edge in the final third to cut open Tower.

  • Full Time:
  • Harmony Row
  • 0-2
  • Tower Hearts

Lineups

Harmony Row
Tower Hearts
1. Calum Dillon
2. Nathan Kavanagh
3. Michael Mulcahy
4. Adam Watt
5. Ryan McCreath
6. Billy Wilson
7. David Ramsay
8. Christopher Scott
9. Ciaran Mulcahy
10. Harry Galloway
11. Josh Winton
12. Conor McCallister
14. Thomas Seagrave
15. Aidan Williams
16. Daniel Crawley
Sub GK. Andrew Crawford
1. Daniel McLean
2. Jonathan Walker
3. Bradley Gray
4. David Seagrave
5. Ben Cappie
6. Stuart Gauley
7. Sean Hughes
8. Blair McIntyre
9. Sean Monaghan
10. Scott Cameron
11. Aaron Graham
12. Mitchell Barclay
14. Alexander Lynn
16. Aiden McElhinney
17. Craig Coleman
20. Sean Smith
Star Player
Harmony Row
Tower Hearts
David Ramsey - Ramsey was terrific down the right hand side. He put several tremendous crosses into the area that just weren't seized upon by team-mates. It was a difficult day for Harmony Row overall, but Ramsey showed real endeavour and quality at times to try and bring his side into the game.
Blair McIntyre - There were many positive performers for Tower Hearts, but McIntyre led from the front in the midfield. He was battling for every ball and spreading the play nicely at times, and really dictated the game from the midfield. McIntyre is the Tower Hearts captain, and he showed why with a display full of leadership.
Magic Moment
Harmony Row
Tower Hearts
It was a game in which Harmony Row struggled for a final ball. However, there was, at times, some lovely football to get space for Ramsey down the right. One of which involved four of Harmony Row's players, all combining and playing passing football to set Ramsay away down the right. It was a lovely passage of play that could've reaped a chance for Harmony Row on another day.
You could probably say Tower Hearts' defending in itself was magic, as well as McLean's ball-handling, which was terrific throughout and will no doubt go under the radar. However, there was a sensational moment from Aaron Graham towards the end of the game that was full of ability. When closed down by three Harmony Row defenders whilst on the ball, the winger jinked through all three of them to emerge with the ball and give his team a breather with 10 men. It was a lovely bit of skill in a positive display from Graham.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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