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Following the SYFA Challenge Cup success of the Bonnyton Thistle Under 19s, Tony Sockell and co. took their troops to Blair Park to take on a solid and handy Girdle Toll side in this CAYFA Supplementary Cup Final. Girdle Toll had scored one more goal than their Kilmarnock opponents (10 to 9) on their road to the final, beating Adrossan Winton Rovers 8-1 and disposing of Irvine Thistle by the score of 2-1. Bonnyton had narrowly beaten West Kilbride 1-0 in the Quarter Final before sending Burnpark BC bombing out of the cup by thrashing them 8-0 at home.
All this made for a tasty final; the added factor of terrential rain was sure to play a role in the game as both sides strived for the win. Bonnyton would eventually run out 1-0 winners after a wonder strike in the first half hour, going on to hold on for victory.
Both teams started at a high tempo with the game flowing from end to end. After the high flying opening exchanges settled down (slightly) it was Bonnyton who found themselves on top. They were mounting all the early pressure with Girdle Toll only really threatening on the occasional counter attack.
Girdle did come close from a corner however after 12 minutes when Jason Stewart had a pop at goal, only to see it go over from inside the penalty area.
Bonnyton did start to create good chances of their own and a nice piece of work by Jamie Knight from midfield almost opened the scoring. Knight worked some shooting space at the D after a neat shimmy but his powerful goal-bound shot was deflected and nothing was gained from the resulting corner.
Bonnyton did manage to grab the lead however, and it was again form a shot from the edge of the box. On 19 minutes, forward Grant McIntyre played an aerial one-two with Kieran MacDonald before smashing the ball high into the net, sending it looping over Morgan Slaven in the Girdle goal. It was a stupendous shot and McIntyre and his team were duly delighted.
The second half of the first period continued in much of the same manner as the first half; Bonnyton had the majoirity of possession and just edged it in terms of chances in the final third, and Girdle looked dangerous but only in bursts on the counter. Bonnyton Callum Ramsay and Jamie Knight had been two key players in the middle of the park, while Ethan Lenno did well out wide. For Girdle, Mitchell Taylor and Jason Stewart were proving vital.
Half Time: Bonnyton Thistle 1-0 Girdle Toll
The second half kicked off with Bonnyton keen to assert their dominance against the boys in orange. Scott Duddy - man of the match from the semi final - began to take the game by the scruff of the neck. On 48 minutes he rampaged down the right and eventually found Jamie Knight to his left. From the middle of the park, Knight took a few steps forward before thundering another long drive at goal. Slaven stopped the effort but spilled it in the process, only to regain the ball firmly with the second bite of the cherry.
8 minutes laer, Knight's third long ranger of the day, this time from the left hand side, went close again. It narrowly missed the target but Knight was clearly buoyed by his goal in the semi final and he was causing the Girdle defence problems.
With Bonnyton continuing to dominate, Girdle were looking for a way to catch them on the counter attack and Jason Stewart came close to doing so twice in 5 minutes. After being played through in the final third with the goal not far away, a block each from Duddy and Captain Adam McKinnon thwarted Stewart's efforts and kept things at 1-0 with 20 minutes to go.
Bonnyton went up the pitch once more and won a corner, and the ensuing goal-mouth scramble almost doubled their lead. The ball fell to Duddy just inside the box and he curled his shot goalward only for Slaven to make a terrific diving save. Liam McKenna latched onto the loose ball but his rebound was only good enough for the side netting.
There was one last moment of 'what could have been' for Girdle when Jack Cummings went on a determind run past numerous Bonnyton players before leaning back to pull the trigger from 16 yards. At this crucial point however, McKinnon slid in with a timely Captain's tackle to avert the danger and quiclky ushered his troops out the box and up the pitch to mount for pressure and try increase the lead.
This worked well as 5 minutes later Scott Duddy's cross from the right was met by Jordan Steel, only for the attacker to skew his shot wide from 7 yards.
Just when Girdle looked to be mounting some pressure of their own in the last 2 minutes, Bonnyton raced up the pitch after denying their opponents any space to work in and Duddy was almost able to round off a great performance when the ball fell to him 8 yards out; he scooped over however and his quest for goal went unmet.
It wasn't to matter however as within seconds Bonnyton were crowned champions and deservedly so. Bonnyton had controlled the game from start to finish and while their opponents had stood firm for the most part the failed to carve Bonnyton's ruthless back four (and five if we include the solid Corrie Spiers) open at any point. Girdle goalie Morgan Slaven impressed with a few good saves and their was nothing he could do about the goal while Jack Cummings and Jason Stewart worked hard. For Bonnyton, Callum Ramsay was superb and Scott Duddy put in a great performance. Adam McKinnon performed like a Captain should while Jamie Knight was a real threat from midfield.
So, Bonnyton Thistle can add this latest triumph to their exntensive trophy cabinet. The Kilmarnock club have now won (across all ages) in all finals they have played in this season. Girdle are left to comtemplate that it wasn't their day, especially in an attacking sense.
Full Time: Bonnyton Thistle 1-0 Girdle Toll YFC