Central Region (165)
It took a stunning Rob Black penalty save to finally separate Burnhead Colts and Finnart AFC after a breathless League Cup final.
Headers from Burnhead’s Dylan Wilson and Michael Sweeney, late in each half, forced the game into extra time, and eventually penalties, following early strikes from Finnart’s Adam Benelkaied and Jack Mcilveen, which had put the boys, in bright pink, in a commanding position.
The first was a superb counter-attack; striker Mcilveen held the ball up well, finding Connor Mckenzie who played a lovely first time pass to Benelkaied on the edge of the box. A delightful turn saw him evade his marker and from there he made no mistake as he fired low past the helpless Black in the Burnhead goal.
It was no less than Finnart’s early dominance deserved; they were first to every loose ball in the middle of the park and they showed some delightful touches in and around the Burnhead box. Benelkaied almost doubled his tally for the match following some lovely link-up play between Mcilveen and Martin Scanlan, but when the ball found its way to him, six yards out, his effort was deflected behind for a corner.
But Finnart weren’t to be denied for long. A few minutes later some unselfish play from Scanlan saw him elect to square the ball across the face of goal when in shooting range. His pass found the unmarked Mcilveen who couldn’t miss from six yards out.
It seemed as though it was going to be a long afternoon for Burnhead, who had yet to have much of an impact on the game. However, their first opportunity at goal a few moments after Finnart’s second – Alistair Dewar forcing a good save out of keeper Paul Monaghan when played through on goal – seemed to spark them into life as they began to gain more and more of a foothold in the match.
Their efforts were rewarded five minutes before half time when an in-swinging Lewis Murdoch cross, from the left hand side, was glanced home off the head of Wilson, leaving the game finely poised heading into the interval.
Clydebank U17s maintained their unbeaten run with a 2-1 win over league leaders Rossvale Inter.
Goals from Louis Robertson and Paul Rankin saw Bankies win their sixth consecutive league game, with a wonder-strike from Kieran Hill not enough for table toppers Rossvale.
Clydebank started on the front foot, with crosses from Matthew Maclean and Ben Jenkins causing problems for the Rossvale back line.
With eleven minutes played, Bankies took the lead. Great play down the left saw a cross into the box, Louis Robertson making an intelligent front post run to bundle in the opening goal of the top of the table clash.
A well worked corner kick saw the ball played to the edge of the box, but the resulting shot went just over as Bankies piled the pressure on.
Ben Jenkins was next to test Jamie Brown in the Rossvale goal, forcing a strong save from the stopper.
Clydebank continued to put the pressure on, and almost added a second. Connor Nelson latched onto a ball over the top, but the chance petered out and they went into the break a goal to the good.
It was a game of two halves at the Jock Stein Centre in Hamilton. The away side, Wishaw Wycombe went in at the break with a two goal lead, however Mill United came out fighting in the second half and pulled the game level before grabbing all three points with a late injury time winner.
It was Wishaw Wycombe who got the game underway as both teams started strongly. The majority of the first half was end-to-end attacking football, however the chances being created weren’t enough to cause any concern to either goalkeeper.
Mill United were going for an over the top ball attacking approach, trying to use their height advantage, whereas Wishaw Wycombe kept the ball on the ground and tried to pass their way through the United defence.
Wycombe broke the deadlock when Cameron Browning won the ball with a sliding challenge on the touchline; he played the ball through to Colm Lafferty, who flicked the ball through a gap in the Mill United defence for Mark Kyle to slot it into the back of the net, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
It was two goals in quick succession for Wycombe. Fantastic football down the right hand side, a series of 1-2’s across the edge of the box before slipping the ball through to Josh Lindsay who’s shot was blocked, but the rebound fell to Mark Kyle, leaving him with the simplest of finishes as he hit the roof of the net to secure his second of the afternoon.
Mill United tried to get a goal back before half time. Kieran Mulvanney did well to stay strong in the corner, holding off two defenders but his cross hit the side netting.
Ross Brown was showcasing his skills when he found himself under pressure from Colm Lafferty and Josh Lindsay, instead of passing the ball he pulled off a magnificent roulette turn and then played the ball up the line to Ross Dunbar.
Wishaw Wycombe came close to making it 0-3 just before half time. Cameron Browning struck a free kick from 30 yards out, with Jack Campbell tipped his curling effort onto the bar.
The referee blew for half time. Both teams played very attractive football but chances were hard to come by, the few chances that Wycombe created were taken.
Substitute Ben Currie’s second half double sealed Rossvale Inter’s place in the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth District League Cup final and ended Hamilton Accies hopes of an unlikely comeback.
Some of the Hamilton players were still in their beds sleeping when Christopher McKeown volleyed home from a corner to give Rossvale the lead and when they finally woke up after Kieran Hamill had doubled the advantage they found they had a mountain to climb. An unstoppable drive from Cal Connolly made it three before the break and Currie’s goals either side of consolations from Evan Duffy and Lee Brown made it a dream performance from Rossvale.
Accies nightmare began when they went behind with the first meaningful attack of the game. Slack marking allowed McKeown to ghost in from outside of the box and volley home Connolly’s corner from 12-yards.
Neither side looked particularly fluid or commanding. This wasn’t a free-flowing football match, more a battle for supremacy in a tightly packed middle of the pitch. Accies managed to force Jamie Brown into a smart stop from Conner Smith’s twisting volley, but Smith’s resulting corner was easily dealt with.
Then, as quick as a flash, Rossvale were 2-0 up. A rapid counter attack looked to have been mopped up by the Accies defence but Fraser McLennan dispossessed a defender and instantly played through Hamill who lobbed Jordan Pettigrew in the Hamilton goal with ease. It was all too easy for Rossvale who were alert and ready to pounce on any Accies slip up.
Going two down finally seemed to rouse Accies who managed a sustained spell of pressure for the first time in the match. They caused some panic in the Rossvale defence with cross balls that the keeper struggled to deal with, but despite some spills and scrambles the defence held firm. It looked for all the world that Brown was about to pull one back for Accies when Duffy’s shot was parried into his path with the goal gaping but it was taken off his toes by an excellent tackle from Owen McGoldrick.
Accies were still suffering from the same frailties at the back however, switching off and allowing Connolly to play through Hamill one on one only for the striker to screw his shot wide. The lack of concentration was pervasive throughout the Accies team and contributed to the third goal. A simple pass in midfield went astray, with Rossvale showing more fight and desire to get to every ball first, Hamill this time turned provider to Connolly who hit a curving, dipping drive from 25-yards right into the postage stamp, leaving Pettigrew helpless.
It was a stunning strike and with only a few minutes till half-time you felt it was a killer blow for Accies. They threw everything forward to try and get back into the game before the break, Smith coming close after Duffy had won the second ball from a deep free-kick. Something Accies hadn’t done enough of in the rest of the half.
Syngenta had their first attempt on goal but the Jerviston goalkeeper got a hand to Aaron Millers low shot.
Jerviston showed how dangerous they could be in the air when Callum Steele rose above the Syngenta defenders to head the ball into the top corner and give his team the lead.
However an instant reaction from Syngenta saw them grab the equalizer moments after conceding. Aaron Miller cut inside onto his stronger foot and tucked the ball into the corner of the net.
Syngenta were hungry for another goal and pressed the ball high up the pitch straight from kick off. Jamie Penman won the ball off of a stunned Jerviston and slotted the ball past the keeper.
The tempo of the game slowed down and the only other chance of the half came from Liam Milne who twisted and turned inside the box before laying it off for his teammate to strike, but a great save from Jed Young kept Syngenta in the lead.
Cleland Boys Club were at home to Syngenta Juveniles in a 3rd round Central Region Cup match. The 3G esnured the game could go ahead despite the cold and frosty conditions.
Syngenta got the game underway and it was a quick start from the men in orange as they won a corner early on, which was whipped in by Jamie Forrester and met by Conor Gamble but his effort went just wide.
Cleland reacted well to an early scare by having a good spell of possession across the middle of the park. However a good interception and a pass out wide to Connor McCallum launched a promising counter attack for the visitors, and a good through ball was played to the strike, but the shot was high and wide.
Ben Frew had a chance to get the ball into the box from the right side. Conor Gamble took the ball down with his back to goal, turned and hit a low-drilled shot forcing a good diving save by Craig Harvie to keep the score at 0-0.
Syngenta kept the early pressure up with a corner. Jamie Forrester floated in an inviting ball towards Neil Anderson who made no mistakes when he got a firm head on the ball, which beat the keeper to make it 0-1 Syngenta.
Cleland kept possession and knocked the ball about as they looked to find gaps in the Syngenta defence. Connor Phairs ran onto a good over the top ball and he managed to secure a throw in deep inside the Syngenta half. The throw in was thrown into the box, it fell to the feet of Lewis Allan who took his chance well and slotted it past the keeper to level the scores.
Straight from kick off Cleland pressed the ball, and Conor Phairs put the defender under pressure and the ball spilled to him. He kept his composure as he struck a volley from just outside the box past the keeper and into the top left corner of the goals giving Cleland the lead.
Jamie Forrester looked to get a quick equaliser as he chipped a ball over the defence in search of his strikers, but David Fagan dealt with the loose ball and averted the danger.
Another attack was mounting as Syngenta started to build up play in their own half and were moving the ball down the right side of the park, but more often than not, before they could cross the ball into the box David Fagan slid in and won the ball back for Cleland.
Cleland looked to add to their lead as Dominic Small was dribbling with the ball. He took it past two players before passing it to Connor Phairs, who cut inside and hit curling effort which looked to be heading for the back of the net, but to the keepers relief it hit the post and was cleared away by Ryan Duffy.
A good counter attack from Syngenta as the ball was cut back to Conor Gamble who was about to pull the trigger, but David Fagan was their again to knick the ball away from him and get the ball clear.
Syngenta continued to try and get an equaliser as Neil Anderson cut the ball back to Connor McCallum, who hit a rocket of a shot but it was a terrific save by Craig Harvie.
Rhys White got the ball in the middle of the park for Syngenta, trying to make something happen. He drove forward, skillfully beat three players before venomously striking a thunderbolt of a shot that flew into the top right corner to level the scores.
With their tails up, Syngenta won a corner, which Jamie Forrester took, and again he floated the ball into the head of Connor McCallum who met it superbly to put Syngenta back in the lead.
Rhys White again showed some impressive skills to ease past the challenges of the defenders and lay the ball off to Connor Gamble who grabbed his first of the match.