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St Ambrose of Coatbridge are into the SSFA Senior Shield semi-final after a comfortable win over Holy Rood, from Edinburgh. The match started as closely as was expected but Chris O’Neil, Aaron Johnstone, Nicky Fraser, Mikey Archer and Stephen Paterson scored the goals that sent the Lanarkshire outfit through.
St Ambrose started on the front foot despite creating no clear chances - Fraser’s shot was straight at Neil Fairnie in goals and Dale Dickson blazed over after an inch perfect through ball from O’Neil. Brendan Edwards tried his luck at the other end before St Ambrose began to dominate.
They looked for joy down the right hand side to Dickson, but it was Robert Park’s cross which was perfect for Paterson, but the striker’s header sailed over the bar.
Five minutes later, St Ambrose were in the lead however. A neat passing move ended with O’Neil driving from midfield and shooting low into the bottom left corner.
Immediately after, Holy Rood thought they were level when Jack Brien connected with a corner but Johnstone was on hand to clear off the line.
St Ambrose continued to control possession in the midfield however, and had claims for a penalty for handball after Dickson’s cross struck the Holyrood defender, however the referee denied those and cautioned the winger for dissent.
The away side were not to be denied a second goal before half time though. A half clearance found it’s way to Johnstone whose shot took a deflection on it’s way to the net to leave the keeper helpless.
Half Time: Holyrood HS 0-2 St Ambrose HS
St Ambrose came out the traps on top again as they searched for the third goal which would surely put the result beyond doubt. Some sloppy loss of possession by the Holy Rood midfield allowed Dickson the chance to score, but after rounding Fairnie he couldn’t hit the target.
Moments later the star man O’Neil took on a run down the left side and was eventually brought down by Edwards. Ryan Cox sent in an excellent delivery which was met by the head of Nicky Fraser, and the ball flew into the far corner to put St Ambrose 3-0 up.
The game slowed down as St Ambrose were content with holding onto their lead, and remained organised in defence. Dickson and Gallagher then passed up opportunities to further the lead, whilst Muzakaya and Rowell tried to open Holy Rood’s account.
The game developed into a fiercely fought encounter and having been booked earlier, Danny Graves was shown the second yellow and red card for a reckless challenge.
St Ambrose kept their cool however, and only a minute later they were 4-0 up. Dickson’s passed infield to Mikey Archer who skipped past a defender and rifled a shot into the top corner for the goal of the game (click here for video).
Holy Rood wanted the final whistle but they would concede one more goal, as Paterson, having missed two great chances in the first half, received the ball just inside the penalty area and poked it into the near post corner.
The referee did then bring close to play and St Ambrose, having dominated the majority of the game, came away with their rewards and a place in the semi-final against Stonelaw HS of Rutherglen.
Full Time: Holyrood HS 0-5 St Ambrose HS