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Blantyre reach final four for first time

Blantyre Boys Club 2

McGuinness 17, McKibben 71

Townhill Boys Club 1

Tonner 80

Rob McCarry | YFS West Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Although reaching the last eight of any national competition is an achievement in itself settling for such an accolade is never enough and the two sides set to collide this afternoon were hungry to go further than they had before and enter the draw for the semi-finals for the first time having both come close in the past.
Visiting Hamilton today from the east coast were Townhill, an outfit who were no strangers to quarter finals having reached this stage last season and this year seeing off Hutchison Vale two rounds ago and Rossvale in their most recent tie to compile a healthy set of scalps heading into this fixture.
Barring their path were the imperious Blantyre Boys Club who had suffered their first blip of the season in their last match when an injury ravaged side lost their first match of the season, bringing to an end a run of 20 games unbeaten. They were back at full strength for today’s fixture however and included among their number six players who had been selected to play for the Central region and one who had been called up for national honours.
The wind had the trees around the pitch almost bent double by the time the referee brought the teams together for the kick off but all those in attendance were interested in was the storm about to be whipped up on the park and just after 12 o’clock we were underway.
The early exchanges would be focused around the centre circle as two evenly matched teams competed to gain a foothold against the other, challenges flew in from both sides and yellow cards were shown with the referee keen to inform that they would be keeping a tight rein on things today.
Just after the quarter hour the first chance would be created by Blantyre’s Michael McGinty as he moved well to open up space for a shot and his well struck effort was on target but covered by Owain Stark in the Townhill goal who got both hands to the ball and turned it round the post. Keen to keep the pressure up the boys in gold then swung a beautiful corner into the box where it fell invitingly under the bar and was nodded home by Ryan McGuinness after 17 minutes.
McGuinness would continue to make his presence felt as he yet again made space for himself moments after the restart although the resultant effort was just off target despite having Stark sprawling and soon after the goalie sent a wayward clearance straight to goal scorer Brown but was fortunate to see the strikers effort sail over whilst he was stranded off his line.
Townhill though were full of running and refused to buckle under pressure with their forwards keen to exploit any lapses and the back and the defence had to be quick to see off Jack George as he looked to run on to a through ball on the edge of the box. Minutes later Aaron Baxter would try his luck from distance only to see Mark Cunningham get a solid two fist punch behind his effort to send it clear of the danger zone.
The momentum was swinging from end to end and next try their luck would be Blantyre’s Luke McKibben whose snapshot sailed just wide before Townhill’s Gregor MacDonald attempted to restore parity before the break but his strike from outside the box failed to create any danger.
The second half began much as the first had ended and was perhaps even more combative with Blantyre fighting to retain the lead and Townhill refusing to give up on this tie and more and more of the play involving quick exchanges of possession with clear cut chances few and far between. The impression began to grow that the next goal in this tie would be crucial and whoever scored it would go on to win.
Thus it proved less than 10 minutes from the end when Blantyre’s McKibben found himself free in the box, controlling the ball well and striking it firmly and although Stark stretched well to get hands to the effort it would not be enough to stop it rolling across the line and sending Blantyre fans and players wild.
Townhill showed yet again they were a side of indomitable spirit and Brogan Tonner more so than any when racing forward with moments left in the game to bring his side within a goal as he swept home from a few yards out but despite continued pressure their efforts proved to be in vain as Blantyre showed themselves too strong on the day.
On another day under different conditions this match could easily have swung in the opposite direction as both sets of competitors were evenly matched in terms of both ability and heart but on this occasion it would be the boys from Lanarkshire who moved one game away from Airdrie in the sun.
Next up for Blantyre is an away tie in the final four, but there won't be far to travel. The winners of The Celtic BC G&W's tie against Hamilton Accies BC will provide the opponents. For Townhill, they return to Fife FDA action in hope of success at local level.


Blantyre Boys Club
Townhill Boys Club

1 Jason Bruce
2 James O'Donnelly
18 Darren Reeves
4 Reiss Mulvaney
5 Brian Martin
6 Mark Whiteford
7 Michael McGinty
8 Dylan McStravock
9 Luke McParlane
10 Luke McKibben
11 Lee Brown
14 Robbie Davidson
15 Michael Kolek
16 Ryan McGuinness
17 Mark Cunningham
19 Callum Munro

1 Owain Stark
2 Kieran Annandale
3 Ben Woodfine
5 Daniel McIntosh
6 McKenzie Roe
7 Jack George
8 Alex Chingwalu
9 Aaron Baxter
10 Ben McCann
11 Jamie Sinclair
14 Brogan Tonner
16 Lewis Robertson
19 Gregor MacDonald

Star Player
Blantyre Boys Club
Townhill Boys Club
Lee Brown scored the opener today and was instrumental in most of side's attacks.
Undoubted though his talent may be one feels that if Brogan Tonner could add an element of physicality to his game he would be unstoppable
Magic Moment
Blantyre Boys Club
Townhill Boys Club
The celebrations that accompanied Callum McKibbens strike late were a sight to behold.
The refusal of Ben Woodfine to simply rest on the sidelines despite suffering a serious of tough tackles stood testament to his character.

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