Galston Boys Club made the short journey south to Ayr's Dam Park to take on Dunbartonshire outfit Clydebank in the CYP cup final on Sunday. Galston had endured a topsy-turvy season but had managed to record good results over the course of the year, notably against Cumnock, Irvine Youth and Crosshouse. Galston Under16s from the previous year had also reached the final if this event, but lost to Girdle Toll - so this squad were looking to go one better.
Clydebank made their way down to Ayrshire carrying a fierce reputation, coupled with a GADYFL Division1 league title, proving their class. 'The Bankies' managed to put together a potent attacking line-up, with Liverpool target Noel Makombo-Eboma, Calum Davidson and Joseph Tyne given key roles. Galston knew what they were up against and set up a 5-4-1 formation to deal with the force of Clydebank, with the hope that the defence would hold out and then allow the likes of Jordan Templeton and Connor Campbell to create and dictate play, with David Jamieson hoping to threaten with pace on the wing. Liam Wilson would need to work hard in the lone striker role.
However, things got off to the worst possible start for Galston, only three minutes in. Clydebank immediately set out to attack, and won a corner following a goalmouth scramble that the Galston defence desperately cleared. Tyne's delicious cross from the corner was met by the head of Christopher Warrilow who flicked the ball deftly into the net.
Galston had to try their best not to let the heads go down, and as a result the upped the tempo of their play and tried to push forward. Clydebank were always looking dangerous on the counter in a sudden and frantic opening five minutes.
The game eventually settled down for ten minutes, with Clydebank just on top. Galston did however manage to press the Clydebank goal. Jordan Templeton won a header in midfield and Campbell picked up the ball and found Jamieson on the right. He bustled his way pas the full-back and into the box but just as the supporters rose from their seats, Martyn Ross in the Bankies rushed out and swept up the ball well at the 6 yard box.
Between twenty and twenty-five minutes Galston came more into the game, enjoying a decent spell of possession. Campbell was always looking to go forward and try and attack, while Jamieson looked a threat out wide. However, as the boys in blue pressed, Clydebank looked dangerous on the break. Tyne proved this as he cut inside from the left and curled a shot towards goal form the dge of the area. The ball cracked off the bar but fell back to Clydebank who kept up the pressure. The ball was crossed back in from the right and Tyne was on hand to stroke home from 7 yards. 2-0.
Jamieson was proving to be Galston's liveliest player and again he came close to working a scoring opportunity. From 25 yards out, he squuezed in between the Clydebank centre-halves to get his chest to a high ball through the middle. As he burst into the box however, he was again thwarted by Ross in goal.
On the thirty-five minute mark, Clydebank delivered a hammer blow to Galston's chances of mounting a comeback, through a piece of brilliance from Kieran Conlin. Driving forward past three Galston players, he powered a shot low and hard towards goal from around 25 yards that nestled crisply in the net. Clydebank's quality was evident and their display was fantastic for the neutral.
Galston pressurised in a desperate salvage operation as Campbell found Jamieson out wide but his high in-swinging cross from the line was just missed by Jamie Mathieson and Liam Wilson. The half-time whistle was drawring ever nearer and Galston knew a goal could spark a surprising, hopeful and ultimately stunning comeback. However, the Bankies pushed on and made it 4-0 as Ryan McAllen hit a well-struck and powerful free-kick into the bottom corner. Clydebank kept up the stunning play and cemented a five-star first half performance moments later when athletic striker Makombo-Eboma got himself on the end of a good cross to tap home after some effective interplay around the edge of the box.
Galston had the last chance of the half, and indeed it was their first actual shot on target. Mathew Balls had showing promise coming forward and looked dangerous, and he was unlucky not to beat the ever-reliable Martyn Ross in goal as he skipped past two players before unleashing a left-footed shot from just over 20 yards out that Ross caught well.
Half Time: Clydebank Under 16s 5-0 Galston BC Under 16s
Due to their dominacne in the first half and gaining a large lead, Clydebank were able to introduce a host of changes at half-time. The game seemed to be going nowhere as the second period started dully but burst into life after five minutes.
Galston pressed and won a corner and although Jamieson's cross was cleared, Matthew Balls ran onto the loose ball and let fly a superb half-volley into the top corner from 20-odd yards. Game on? Galston were a long way back and Clydebank's immense quality was evident, but this Galston team can be unpredictable and the team spirit is unique. Could the class of Matthew Balls' goal (perhaps the goal of the day so far) spur on his team-mates?
Unfortunately for the Ayrshire boys, it was not to be. The goal proved to be consolation as moments later the dangerous Makombo-Eboma worked a shooting opportunity in the box after some good build-up play, and swiped the ball beyond Declan Gates from penalty-spot range. 6-1.
Galston were intent not to give up though and balls was proving to be particlaurly influential to any hopes of grabbing some dignity from the game. He drove forward from deep once more, forcing the goalkeeper into an acrobatic save. Moments later he burst forward again and latched himsle fonto Liam Wilson's flick, but his attempt to place his effort past the goalie was thwarted as the keeper dived low to gather.
Clydebank's substitutes were showing to be no less capable as they exerted some attractive football, with David Walume playing in Paul McConnachie on the left, but his driven shot was saved well by Declan Gates.
Over an hour had been played when Clydebank put themselves into seventh heaven as Calum Davidson netted a well-deserved header from close range. The game died down for a few minutes as Galston brought on Elliott Kenny to shore up the defence, and Michael Haines came on and showed glimpses of skill with the ball at his feet. It was 8-1 in the seventy-fifth as Clydebank were proving awesome. Kieran Conlin dribbled forward and won a free-kick, which he duly stepped up to take. He curled it under the wall and past the keeper, perfectly into the bottom corner. The game was nearing a close now but the Bankies weren't finished yet. Lee Hamilton surged down the right wing and crossed into the area, and Mark McCran dispatched cooly from 6 yards.
Galston could have conjured up a late consolation goal to lift their spirits as Henderson exploited some slack defending in the dying moments. He had good options for a pass but opted to shoot instead, but the keeper saved his decent attempt.
The whistle soon blew for full-time and Clydebank duly celebrated an emphatic and desreved win. The men in red&white showcased some extraordinary football - attractive, persistent and effective. Key displays came from Makombo-Eboma who caused havoc amongst the defence and his link-up play was efficient. Davidson and Tyne terrorised the Galston defence and Kieran Conlin put in a very good performance, and substitute Justicia Bernardo also showed his quality despite not playing the full game. Galston worked hard for the full game but were undone by a team they will admit was much the stronger. They always tried to play nice football but couldn't find a cutting edge and were let down by some careless errors. Templeton looked steady on the ball and Martin was a determined force in a defence that struggled to cope with their opponent's front line. Jamie Mathieson never gave up the cause in attack or defence, and David Jamieson and Matthew Balls were potent threats going forward, with the latter also doing a fair share of work in the tackle.
All in all, a deserved victory for Clydebank who made the journey back up the road in joyous mood. Galston are left to reflect on what might have been had they not conceded so early, but they done well to reach this final and can look forward to a promising 2012/13 season.
Full time: Clydebank Boys FC Under 16s 9-1 Galston BC Under 16s