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Accies overcome brave Blantyre to advance to Scottish Cup final

Hamilton Accies 2

Smith 33, Douglas 67

Blantyre BC Yellow 0

Alan Christie | YFS Central Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Goals in each half from Connor Smith and Callum Douglas saw Hamilton Accies edge a hard fought Scottish Cup semi final against Blantyre BC Yellow at a windswept Robertson Park.  In a game of very few chances Accies took theirs when it mattered and were able to keep a determined Blantyre out at the other end.  Blantyre battled manfully throughout the game but it is Accies that will take their place in May’s final in Airdrie.
A real semi final atmosphere was in place as Hamilton kicked off, the natural sense of nervous anticipation augmented by a noisy Blantyre travelling support who had brought a drum, an air horn and some smoke bombs with them.  It was all good natured backing for their side and well captured by the YFS cameraman and videographer who were in attendance for this eagerly awaited contest between two free scoring local sides.  The only worry for those in attendance at Thorniewood United’s Robertson Park was that the strong swirling wind might limit each team’s ability to play the positive attacking football for which they have been renowned this season.
The opening exchanges were very cagey as the teams struggled to deal with the wind and also a pitch that was slightly bobbly, meaning possession was being given away relatively cheaply.  In the seventh minute Accies Dean Burton had a fairly muted claim for a penalty when challenged by Blantyre goalkeeper Mark Cunningham; only a corner was given however which was the correct decision.  Burton had given early notice of his pace and strength breaking down the left though.  Blantyre were aware of this threat and were once again being led excellently at the back by Ryan McGuinness who seemed to be getting in the way of everything Hamilton could throw at him.
Throughout this season the main men for Blantyre have been Michael McGinty and Lee Brown but they were being kept quiet in the early part of the game.  That was until the sixteenth minute when Blantyre produced a superb piece of counter attacking football to almost take the lead.  A corner from Accies on the right was cleared and taken in his stride by McGinty to create a crucial yard of space.  Brown had already read his teammates intentions, darting forward purposefully.  McGinty flighted a superb ball over the head of the last Accies defender which it looked like Brown would be able to get on the end of.  Unfortunately for Brown and his team however Jordan Pettigrew in the Accies goal was equally sharp, rushing out to clear the danger.  If Accies had been marginally on top in the opening stages this gave them a reminder of exactly what Blantyre were capable of, particularly if McGinty was able to get on the ball in midfield.
Blantyre seemed to grow in confidence following this action, forcing a free kick on the right that McGinty took.  This was clutched easily by Pettigrew who then produced an outstanding save in the twentieth minute to tip over a long range Brown effort.  The subsequent corner was cleared and it was a feature of the game that each side was unable to capitalise on a number of set piece opportunities when they were presented with them.  Hamilton had a couple of efforts from long range, most notably after thirty minutes when a twenty five yard effort from David Thomson brought a flying save from Cunningham.
Accies had more success in the thirty third minute when they took the lead with a goal almost from nowhere.  A high ball forward seemed to catch in the wind and was gratefully seized upon by Connor Smith who brought it down before taking it towards the byeline on the left.  From there he produced an emphatic finish from a tight angle that flew past Cunningham to put his team one goal up.  A very well taken goal that looked to be crucial in a match of very few chances and it gave Accies a lead that they held until the half time interval.
Accies forced a quick corner just after half time after an effort from Callum Douglas who was starting to have an effect after his appearance from the bench.  Thomson also forced a save from replacement goalkeeper Jason Bruce as they went looking for what would likely be a deciding second goal.  Blantyre weathered this early storm and were able to force a free kick in a dangerous position in the forty seventh minute.  Brown stood over it intently but fired his effort well over the bar.  Michael Kolek also had a couple of efforts from similar situations but these were dealt with by Accies, including an impressive save from Pettigrew when one of his own teammates headed towards goal.  This was certainly giving Blantyre hope and they were still keeping things type at the back including an impressive clearance off the line by left back Dylan McStravock
Blantyre’s hopes of a comeback were dealt a fatal blow in the sixty seventh minute however after conceding a goal which sums up the very fine margins on which football matches are often decided.  Brown brought the ball in and turned superbly before playing a terrific defence splitting pass through to James O'Donnelly who was bursting through from the right wing position.  It looked like a clear chance for O'Donnelly but similar to Brown’s first half opportunity, Pettigrew was alert to the danger and raced out to clear.  From this clearance Accies Burton burst through a couple of challenges on the break with the ball being picked up by his strike partner Douglas.  Douglas showed excellent composure to round the keeper and slot in his sides second.  The importance of this goal was not lost on Douglas who took his shirt off in celebration, earning a yellow card for his troubles.
This goal was indeed to be decisive and apart from a booking for Burton for diving late in the game, the rest of the match passed without much further in the way of incident.  Blantyre tried relentlessly to get a goal that their play on the day certainly deserved but Accies remained resolute, threatening on a couple of occasions to add a third.  The final whistle blew and it was the Accies players and support that were in celebratory mood.
An intriguing semi final in which the clinicalness of Accies in front of goal proved decisive.  Both teams deserve immense credit for serving up such an enjoyable game in conditions which threatened to make that impossible.  Accies can go onto the final in Airdrie with confidence whilst Blantyre should be very pleased with their performance in this season’s competition, hopefully using it as a springboard for the games that remain.


Hamilton Accies
Blantyre BC Yellow
1 Jordan Pettigrew
3 Jack Linden
4 John Rowan
5 Adam McKeown
7 Dean Burton
8 Lewis Mooney
9 David Thomson
11 Callum Douglas
12 Nathan McKenna
14 Connor Burns
15 Bradley Seaton
16 Robert Griffiths
17 Fraser McLennan
18 Connor Smith
19 Evan Duffy
1 Jason Bruce
2 James O’Donnelly
4 Reiss Mulvanney
5 Brian Martin
6 Mark Whiteford
7 Michael McGinty
8 Dylan McStravock
9 Luke McPartland
10 Luke McKibben
11 Lee Brown
14 Robbie Davidson
15 Michael Kolek
16 Ryan McGuinness
17 Mark Cunningham
18 Darren Reeves
19 Callum Munro
Star Player
Hamilton Accies
Blantyre BC Yellow
Callum Douglas – offered persistent attacking impetus throughout the game, rounded off perfectly with a well taken goal. Despite starting on the bench he became quickly involved in the game, never letting the Blantyre defence settle.
Ryan McGuinness – led his team superbly from the back, minimising the significant attacking threat that Accies had. Also dealt very well with the windy conditions which seemed go get more severe the longer the game progressed.
Magic Moment
Hamilton Accies
Blantyre BC Yellow
Connor Smith's finish for the opening goal was as emphatic as they come, bringing to mind Ryan Giggs famous finish in FA Cup semi final against Arsenal. A fitting way to open the scoring in a semi final.
The turn and pass from Lee Brown to his teammate Michael Kolek was top quality. Unfortunately for him so were the reactions of the Hamilton keeper who managed to clear the danger.
Club Views
Hamilton Accies
Blantyre BC Yellow
Hamilton Accies coach John Rowan said: “I’m just glad to be in the final, that’s what it is all about. It was a very hard game against a good side and we knew it would be.”
Blantyre coach Jim McGinty said: “I felt there was not much in the game, we missed a couple of one on one chances, most obviously just before they scored their second goal. It’s hard to take but that’s football. I’d like to wish Hamilton all the best for the final.”

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