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Syngenta silence impressive Celtic to reach final

Celtic Juniors 1

McBeth 69

Syngenta Juveniles 2

McKenna 47 Coulter 77
  • Sunday, 23 March 2014
  • Guy Meadow, Cumbernauld
  • Under 14´s
  • TWS Scottish Youth FA Cup - Semi Final

Barry McLees | YFS Central Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Celtic Juniors’ impressive fight was just short of the mark as Syngenta Juveniles stole the show late in this Scottish Cup semi final. 
The struggle to break the deadlock did not come easy for either team in an end-to-end clash dominated by midfield battles and strong displays from both goalkeepers. All three goals came in the second half with an unfortunate own goal from Celtic being the first, the fight was not over when Celtic’s Mark McBeth slotted home a crucial equaliser which looked to be the action that took the game to extra time before a late piece of magic from Syngenta’s Jake Coulter. 
Celtic kicked the game off, both teams displaying aggression and creativity straight from the whistle. Chances on goal were slim in the first quarter with most of the play dominating around the midfield areas. 
On the 10th minute Syngenta were granted the first corner of the game from a strong tackle by Celtic’s Joseph McKenna – there was no break in the defence as the ball was cleared up-field and onto Celtic’s offense, which proved to become a trend of end-to-end football in the game. After a marginally offside claim which looked to be a goal-scoring opportunity for Syngenta, they pushed on with the momentum and in the 15th minute looked to open the scoring again with a series of 1-2s and slick movement pioneered by Grant Forrester but a strong catch from Celtic’s goalkeeper pacified the situation. 
It did not take long for Celtic to retaliate when a run and long range shot from McBeth pushed Syngenta on their heels after marginally going over the bar. Breaks in both teams’ midfield were becoming more apparent as the box-to-box chances began to pick up nearing the 20th minute. A great display of passing witnessed Coulter curling the ball just round the post, which was sharply added to by a Syngetna punt from the goalkeeper which Coulter again acted upon forcing a corner. From the corner Celtic counter-attacked which saw the ball land at McBeth’s feet as he put a worthy effort just past the far post. 
Approaching half time close calls came fast from Celtic’s Kieran Douglas, McBeth, Ronan Fox and a remarkable run from Robbie Lennon which watched him go past three defenders and force Allan Dickson into tipping the ball to the left of the goal and it echoed around in the Guy Meadow stand that it would take something out of the ordinary to separate these two strongly matched teams.
  • Half Time:
  • Celtic Juniors
  • 0-0
  • Syngenta Juveniles
Encouraging shouts from both sets of players edging on their teammates were being exchanged as the whistle blew and the Syngenta ball rolled to begin the second half. Much like the first half the two teams came out strong battling hard in the mid section. After a Celtic chance was critically swept away by Syngenta, a run from Shane McCann was the build up for the unordinary to change the game – he forced McKenna into a slide tackle which took an unfortunate ricochet off his shin and slid past his goalkeeper in the bottom left corner, the deadlock broken for Syngenta. 
On the stroke of the 50th minute the Grangemouth outfit looked to further their lead with Coulter getting in the right positions on two consecutive chances both marginally going by the post. Syngenta were slowly beginning to close in, but unsung hero Ronan Fox dug in his heels and lifted his team from the back foot of midfield to begin pushing passes into the right areas, using Celtic’s speed down the flanks. After being awarded a free kick on the edge of the Syngenta box, Celtic faced a series of ricochets that were soon swept up. 
Coulter then diverted the new change in dominance with a long run from his own half down the left flank and forced a corner with a silky back-heel. Celtic quickly shot back the fire with a series of intricate passes and slotted past the Syngenta keeper on the 66th minute, but was just caught offside. 
The momentum began to build again for Celtic and only a minute later on the 67th a piece of individual heroism from Fox slid the ball beautifully between two defenders which connected with McBeth’s equalising right foot. With both teams back on level pegging the game went back to being midfield orientated until the referee awarded a free kick in favour of Syngenta when Celtic’s McKenna knocked the back to the arms of Matthew Boyle – the defence showed its will to win and forced the clearance but Syngenta continued applying the pressure with the decider coming just two minutes later. With previous chances just out of grasp for Coulter he made his own luck by sliding past three players including Boyle and smashing home with his left foot. 
In the dying minutes Celtic were down but showed no sign of giving up with another goal being cut offside in the dying minute. With both teams displaying creativity, ambition, technicality and skill to a high level and on the day it was Syngenta’s perseverance which decided the result and with the absence of Cammy Logan who suffered a shoulder-break just two weeks before the tie. 
Celtic were by no means poor and the clash could have went differently on another day but gracious in defeat the Celtic manager displayed true sportsmanship by congratulated the Syngenta squad in the dressing room after the final whistle.
  • Full Time:
  • Celtic Juniors
  • 1-2
  • Syngenta Juveniles


Celtic Juniors
Syngenta Juveniles

1. Matthew Boyle
2. Ciaran Leonard
3. Reece Johnston
4. Andrew Rhoddie
5. Lewis Smith
6. Joseph McKenna
7. Mark McBeth - 
8. Ronan Fox
9. Kieran Redmond
10. Ryan Cunningham
12. Kieran Douglas
14. Jonathon Kavanagh
15. Mainza Mtenga
16. Matthew McGrath
17. Robbie Lennon
18. Jordan Kitzidos

23. Allan Dickson (GK)
2. Dean Love
3. Mitchell Speirs
5. Aaron McMillan
7. Ruairi Gallagher
8. Alex Thomson
10. Scott Ballantine
11. Kyle McGuire
12. Euan Alexander
14. Jake Coulter
15. Josh Brown
17. Ryan Bennie
18. Grant Forrester
19. Roman Blazejewski
21. Shane McCann
25. George MacDonald
Star Player
Celtic Juniors
Syngenta Juveniles
Ronan Fox - for huge spells of the game he was the unsung hero sweeping up and covering grass from box-to-box. In the face of adversity when Syngenta broke the deadlock he lifted his team by winning the ball in crucial areas and distributing it to break on the offense. An all-round performance and credited for his behind the scene duties.
Jake Coulter - from the first whistle not only did this player display immense talent but also a need and urge to be on the ball, to do something with the game. His performance range from long runs down the flanks, silky technical abilities, forced corners, tracking back a few near misses and his winning goal. An agreement between the referee and myself was made that this player was man of the match with his solid performance.
Magic Moment
Celtic Juniors
Syngenta Juveniles
The equalising goal for Celtic Juniors was a special moment, the snow has just started to fall when Fox weaved through three players and passed the ball between two into the path of McBeth who knocked it past the goalkeeper.
A late match winner when it looked like the game was headed for extra time, pressure was always present in the game and chances were not rare but the mere fashion and composure at such a crucial stage in the game to win it was sublime.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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