SYFA CENTRAL REGION
Regional Cup (Under 16s)
Baillieston 2 Kilsyth Athletic 4
After a lengthy winter shut down enforced on both teams by the recent arctic weather conditions Baillieston gave up their home advantage and brought this match to the Sportsfield, Kilsyth to allow the tie to be played before both teams tackle next weekÔÇÖs Scottish Cup fourth round ties.
The teams took to the field in near gale force winds with Baillieston playing with the wind from the kick off. Baillieston started strongly and had by far the better of the early exchanges and only an outstanding save at full stretch from KilsythÔÇÖs keeper Whyte five minutes in kept the scores level. However a combination of strong running and passing by the Baillieston midfield and the strong wind holding up KilsythÔÇÖs defensive clearances meant that it was only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken. Twelve minutes in Baillieston took a long throw-in on the right and the ball found their striker unchallenged in the air and it was all too easy for him to direct the ball with his head into the net.
Baillieston continued to surge forward and almost extended their lead when the Kilsyth back line hesitated when a Baillieston player went down outside the box with an obvious head injury only to see the referee allow play to continue and the Baillieston striker only had the keeper to beat from six yards out only for Whyte to stand up well and block the shot. However on the half hour mark Kilsyth again failed to get the ball clear of their box and looked on in horror as the ball was side footed past despairing Whyte into the net.
Kilsyth were restricted to occasional counter attacks. But with only a couple of minutes to go to half time they had a good shout for a penalty turned down when a high ball came into the box from the left to Paterson but he was clearly shoved in the back as he tried to control it only for the referee to wave play on despite Kilsyth protests.
Half time saw Kilsyth manager Waters withdraw his son who had had a strong performance at left back for Mulholland. The teams turned around and now Kilsyth with the strong breeze behind them and spurred on by their managerÔÇÖs team talk looked like a different team. Within five minutes after a number of attacks a scramble in the box saw MacDonald force the ball into the net at the back post to half the deficit.
Moments later Forsyth on the left wing surged forward and cut inside striking the ball with his right foot from some twenty five metres out only to see the ball strike the crossbar with the keeper beaten. The referee again infuriated the Kilsyth bench when a through ball to Punter was cut out by a Baillieston defender who laid the ball back to his keeper who picked the ball up. The referee waved play on despite their protestations. A few minutes later though a similar pass back resulted in an indirect free kick to Kilsyth just inside the Baillieston box. The ball was touched by Punter to left back Mulholland who drove the ball into the wall, as the ball broke Mulholland struck the ball again lifting it over the wall and into the roof of the net to level the scores.
With twenty minutes remaining it was now game on. Baillieston kept trying to break forward despite the strong wind but the Kilsyth back line of Morrison, Cunningham, Mulholland and Holmes held firm. Whenever Baillieston did manage to break through they were thwarted by the outstanding Whyte in the Kilsyth goal.
With ten minutes to go the ball got played in from the left to the back post where Cunningham showed great technique to keep his shot down and drive his volley into the net to send the Kilsyth support into raptures. Kilsyth made changes now they held the lead and withdrew Punter as a precaution with the Scottish Cup tie looming replaced by Cloggie and MacDonald who had run himself into the ground on the right wing was replaced by the pacy Reid. Kilsyth continued to surge forward with attack after attack and only outstanding goalkeeping by BailliestonÔÇÖs number one kept his team in this tie.
Baillieston though werenÔÇÖt about to give this tie up without a fight and drove forward time after time only for them to be kept out by strong defensive play by Kilsyth who repeatedly counter attacked. As the game entered stoppage time a beautiful through ball from Cloggie saw centre forward Ross outstrip the defence with his pace and strike the ball home to secure the victory.
Next Saturday Kilsyth take on Colony Park from Aberdeenshire in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup. The game kicks-off at the Sportsfield at 2pm.