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Mill Utd see off Crosshouse in close Scottish Cup encounter

Crosshouse Boys Club 1

McSorely

Mill United Colts 3

Hayes, Quinn, Scullion
  • Sunday, 01 December 2013
  • Grange Acdemy AstroTurf
  • Under 16´s
  • TWS Scottish Youth FA Cup - R5

Football coach and journalist wannabe.

Beautiful sunshine rained down on Grange Academy's Third Generation AstroTurf when Crosshouse Boys Club 1998s welcomed Mill United Colts 98s. Crosshouse are my local team effectively, as they play a stone's throw away from my house - well when they play on the grass. I was down reporting at one of their Mill Utd were a team a bit unknown to me, as they are based in Hamilton. However, as a player and a coach, I have faced Mill teams plenty of the times in the last and they usually have great teams. Their league form backed up this hypothesis. All pointed to a cracking match ahead. Firstly, they respectfully observed a moments silence for the tragic Clutha helicopter crash that occurred in the late hours of Friday night (November 29th 2013) that had claimed the lives of at least eight. After that though, the Grange estate was filled with battle cries as both teams attempted to psyche themselves up for their biggest match of the season so far. I have had a knack of picking my games well this season, as they always have been exciting. This one was no different, and it was end to end football through out...
 
David McSorely almost got his team off to a flier within forty-five seconds. He latched onto a long ball and drove at the defence. His power and footwork were nimble and this allowed him to cut inside and let rip from twenty five yards. The dipping effort looked to be heading in but goalkeeper Ryan Lawrie leapt across acrobatically to tip the ball wide. A smart stop indeed . From the resulting Alexander Bell corner, Graeme Condon headed the ball back across the face of goal but it was cleared off the line before Connor Cunnigham could tap home. 
     
Crosshouse had started the better side in the opening ten minutes. They had gotten in behind the defence all too often. They had won six corners in the time period. Lawrie had to be sharp off of his line to smother a dinked through ball from Connor Cunningham to prevent McSorely from being presented with the easiest of chances, that a player of his calibre would easily finish.
    
However, twelve minutes into the game it was Mill who had created the best chance so far. A superb cross in from the right found the head of Connor Quinn and he met the header sweetly and it looked to be rocketing into the bottom corner. Only a superb save from Robbie Wilson kept the deadlock in tact. Not for the first time this season had I witnessed the keeper use his outstanding agility to the fullest potential. 
     
Not being a team to hold back, Crosshouse cranked up the pressure on the back of Wilson's save. Reece Cunnigham - Connor's older brother, as Connor is technically a 99 born - hit a speculative drive from thirty yards. I say speculative, but it was worth a go, and Lawrie did well to hold the powerful effort with strikers following the ball in. 
       
From a free kick a few moments later, left back Paul Millar sent a free kick a foot or so over Lawrie's crossbar. 
     
That brought the game up to the twenty-five minute mark. The match was being played at a hundred miles an hour, a true magical Cup Tie that was living up to its expectations. There was a big support of people from both sides, and to the North of the pitch (but outside the ground) a group of youngsters set off pyrotechnics. This forced the referee to hold up play for a few minutes as they were asked to stop for fear of distracting any players. 
     
The delay did nothing to stop the end to end action however. What I'd say was the best chance of the game so far came the way of Crosshouse. Reece Cunnigham broke away on the left wing, and his pin-point cross picked out McSorely. The ex-Ayr United striker had  ghosted into the back post and was presented with a free header. Perhaps he took his eye off of the ball at the last moment, as the 'complete forward' screwed a chance wide, and I know he'd normally eat chances like that for breakfast. 
    
Mill countered immediately though. A long ball was superbly controled by Dylan Hayes. He nutmegged a defender and raced in on goal; and just as he was about the pull the trigger, a superb last ditch slide tackle from Millar denied a certain goal. 
     
The next chance came the way of the red-and white's talismanic left back. Another dangerous corner by Ethan Tasker this time was met by Millar, but Lawrie held the ball well. 
      
The keeper's long throw found the red and black shirt of Quinn. Picking the ball up at the half way line he sped away in a Carlos Tevez esque manner. Piling driving his way through wave after wave of defenders, Quinn cut the ball back for his strike partner Hayes at the back post, but it was cut out at the last moment. 
      
Half time drew near, and still the end to end action continued. McSorely went closest out of anyone that had tried so far. A deep cross from Tasker floated in from the right: McSorely won the challenge with his marker and sent a powerful header crashing back off of the crossbar. The danger was not quite clear though, as the rebound was blasted back at goal by Bell, but Lawrie was again equal to it. 
   
The game was then delayed a few minutes as the goalkeeper, superb in his handling and distribution, went down with an injury. Further still, the pyrotechnics gang were told to vacate the pitch, for apparently abusing the Mill keeper. Sadly this takes away any sort of fun coming to a game like in a big crowd, and I know the referee made the correct call in asking them to leave.
   
Tactically, the delay benefited the Hamilton side because they found themselves 1-0 within seconds of the restart. With Crosshouse applying the pressure up until the delay, it was again perhaps against the run of play  that Mill broke the deadlock. A long ball from right wing- back Steven Gemmell found Quinn. With the defence static, it was all to easy for the pacey striker to ghost into the box. Further still, it was all to easy for Hayes to strut into the box, receive a cut back and slot home, right on the stroke of half-time - a killer blow for the home side; that old cliché, its the best time to score. However, a great finish nonetheless from the youngster.
  • Half Time:
  • Crosshouse Boys Club
  • 0-1
  • Mill United Colts
The Mill coach summed up the game oh so well with a phrase in his half time team talk. I quote; "Do we deserve to be in the lead? Naw." Before adding "Do I care? Naw. Come on boys!" A good point to make, he also rung a few tactical changes to go to a flat back 4, but Crosshouse kept the same shape. Mill had one hand into the last eight at half time, but could they hang on? In all honesty, they would have to step up a bit, most likely. They'd have to match the rallying call of their coach. One player who would want to continue playing the way he was Ryan Lawrie, the goalkeeper cheekily admitting that so far "this [was] the best game of [his] life!" 
 
The game started with another wave of Crosshouse pressure. A giant for his age, Graeme Condon won another header in the Mill box, but his  header just shaved the top of the crossbar. Following the chance, Connor Cunnigham was picked out by his older brother, he kneed the ball down, and nutmegged he standing defender but it was way to close to Lawrie. 
     
Tempers started to flare as frustration set in. Even though we were only five minutes into the second half, the aggression and heart came out in the heat of the moment of a Scottish Cup tie: tackles flew in and two Mill players found themselves yellow carded. 
        
On the counter attack, Mill benefited of a mix up and they duly made it 2-0. A long ball into the box was headed sky high, even though Wilson came to collect. The ball ended up in the goal mouth, with the keeper on the ground. Wilson made a super initial safe to dent Hayes, but Quinn blasted the rebound home. 
     
Two slack goals had cost Crosshouse, and a team of their class will be bitterly disappointed. They had, so far, won every game they had played this season.
     
However, all was not lost  here -there was still half an hour left. A tactical change saw Darren Spence on at centre half and Stuart Shek being pushed into the middle of the park. And they benefited from what I have to say, could be the worst refereeing decision I have ever seen. 
     
The ref had taken stick from both sides, and I would never describe anyone as a bad referee - its a thankless task. He was doing a good job on the whole, something only the neutral could see.The referee seemed a genuinely nice fellow as well, chatting to me away at half time. Sadly, I cannot see why he awarded Crosshouse a spot kick. A cross from Tasker was going towards McSorely, and Lawrie came and punched the ball to safety, only for the referee to blow his whistle and point towards the spot. Even the Crosshouse players seemed bemused and befuddled as to how they were just presented a way back into the game.  I'm not sure if the referee thought perhaps a defender punched the ball, but he seemed to be indicating that the goalie pushed McSorely, and he did none of the sort. 
      
McSorely stepped up, and saw Lawrie save the spot kick. However, he tapped in the rebound for 2-1. The game stopped again, as spectators, coaches and players alike questioned the referee's decision. 
     
Crosshouse almost equalised in spectacular fashion within minutes of their first goal, Connor Brennan putting an over head kick that just went over the junction with the keeper beat. 
     
From another Crosshouse attack,  Mill went long and made it 3-1. Game, set, match. Substitute Paul Scullion used his pace to get in behind and he lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper with twenty minutes to go. A clinical finish, and a very fine one at that.
        
There was a moment of real worry two minutes later. Condon charged out of defence and seemed to stumble over of his own downfall. He hit the ground head first right on the Mill touch line, and it looked serious. The Mill coaches immediately had play halted, and there was a delay as the Crosshouse first aider came over. However, the rock solid centre half was up on his feet just moments later, thankfully. 
     
Next to have a go was Alistair Fordyce: his moving strike caused Wilson problems, but he managed to divert the ball wide for a corner.
     
Crosshouse's captain for the day Alex Bell was the next person to has an attempt on goal; however he sent his header from a corner a yard over. 
    
Crosshouse then had a more viable penalty claim with Kyle Gilroy going to the turf. However, it wasn't what I'd call a stonewaller, and after the first penalty they were awarded there was no chance they were getting that one!
   
From a free kick, Sam Garner tested Wilson's concentration - but he held the driven free kick well. 
     
Crosshouse's frustration came thick and fast. Yellow cards and fouls came swiftly. Reece Cunningham then got a ball straight off the face and had to go off concussed. This sparked poor scenes. Yellow cards were dished out even after the final whistle: Mill players now run the risk of suspension for the next round whilst Crosshouse will have them to carry on next year. A fantastic game of football, which shouldn't be overshadowed by a feisty end.
  • Full Time:
  • Crosshouse Boys Club
  • 1-3
  • Mill United Colts

Lineups

Crosshouse Boys Club
Mill United Colts

1) Robbie Wilson. (Gk)
2) Danny Ross.
4) Darren Spence.
5) Graeme Condon. 
6) Stuart Shek.
7) Connor Cunningham. 
8) Reece Cunningham.
9) David McSorely. 
10) Kieran McLaughlin.
11) Ethan Tasker.
14) Paul Millar. 
15) Scott Jennings.
16) Kyle Gilroy.
17) Duncan Knapp. 
19) Alexander Bell. (C)
20) Connor Brennan. 

1) Ryan Lawrie. (Gk)
2) Hamish van Kessell.
3) Adam Russell.
4) Rian Summers.
5) Lachlan Tait. (C)
6) Warren Greenfell.
7) Dylan Hayes.
8) Steven Gemmell. 
9) Connor Quinn.
10) Euan Devanney. 
11) Kyle McAteer.
12) Declan Murphy.
14) Paul Scullion.
15) Jack Mullings. 
17) Sam Garner.

Star Player
Crosshouse Boys Club
Mill United Colts
Ethan Tasker. Both Tasker and Millar were excellent at full back, however the latter was sacrificed for tactical reasons, making it an easy Player of the Game award. Ethan's crossing was excellent through out, and on another day perhaps they'd have lead to more goals.
Ryan Lawrie. As I say; he was only really forced into one good save. However, the goalkeeper's handling and distribution was second to none. Clearly, he has been a clear winner as a result of a goalkeeper coach working with him. As a Man City fan, I am tempted to think he is better than that blonde fellow that has been stealing a £90K a week living with us for years! Seriously though, well played Ryan!
Magic Moment
Crosshouse Boys Club
Mill United Colts
Connor Brennan's overhead kick was nothing short of magical, had that been the equaliser then it would have been the greatest goal I have seen in youth football (apologies Michael Grant and Erin Cuthbert, it was would have been better than those two wonder goals) and also one of the most important. Sadly, it just didn't dip enough, very unlucky.
Paul Scullion's strike that killed the game off. Whilst being a simple goal, it was great to see the joy of the entire Mill side line when the ball went in, and they knew they were heading for the last 8.
Club Views
Crosshouse Boys Club
Mill United Colts
Danny Ross, Crosshouse player, said; "They were very physical, and wanted it more. The Glasgow leagues are better than the ones around here. This shows - they play tough teams every single week, whereas we arent as used to it. We felt we could have won, and we played the better football. In saying that they deserved to win; we were far from our best."
Ryan Lawrie, Mill Utd Colts Goalkeeper and today's Away Side Star Player, said: "The game went okay. We could have defended better though, so many silly passes went through and could have lead to goals. Thankfully, that never happened. Our league form isn't as good as last year's. We have focused on the Regional and Scottish [cups] and have lost 4 league games, but last year we went undefeated in the league."
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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