A hat-trick for Ian Stokes plus one for his twin brother James helped Boclair Academy to a convincing 5-0 victory over Chryston High in this Under-16 Scottish Schools Shield semi-final.
Played on neutral ground at Cambuslang Rangers with a good crowd in attendance for both sides, there was a party atmosphere in the glorious sunshine for this early evening kick-off. Chryston went into the game having not conceded a goal en-route to the semis but that changed within five minutes.
Calum Wilson picked up a loose ball on the left wing, made his way to the byline and pulled it back behind the strikers where James Stokes was making a late run into the box to fire past the helpless Harry Purves in the Chryston goal for 1-0.
The great start almost got even better for Boclair moments later when William Flemmings speculative effort from the left touchline seemed to hang in the air for a lifetime before coming down on top of the bar, much to the relief of Purves who was struggling to see it because of the sun.
Chryston’s first opportunity of the match was almost the equaliser. Bradley Moultrie’s effort was parried out by Grant Mackie but only as far as Aiden O’Donnell who must have thought his first time effort was heading in only to see it blocked on the line by Josh Brown. Brown then popped up at the other end of the pitch - Aidan Lynch’s corner was deep to the back post where it was met by Brown but came back off the post.
Having got the goal and hit the woodwork twice, Boclair were looking the better side in the opening quarter and Brown came close again with another header from a corner. This time Louie Robertson was on the line for Chryston to prevent the second.
The second was imminent though and came after 25 minutes. Picking up the ball just inside the opposition half, Lynch used his pace to knock the ball round his marker and run onto it. Once at the byline he took his time to pick the pass to Ian Stokes who slammed home number two and joined his twin on the scoresheet.
Both goals came from good wing-play with Boclair looking particularly dangerous when using the pace of Lynch and Ian Stokes down the right.
Chryston desperately needed a quick response if they were to get back into the game and two set-pieces almost provided it. Moultrie first forced the goalkeeper into tipping a 40-yard free-kick over the bar and then from the resulting corner Chryston won’t believe they didn’t get the goal. Moultrie’s corner was deep to the back post and onto the head of Connor Johnson whose effort was parried by Mackie but still in the 6-yard box it was almost scrambled in by Drew Fleming and then by Scott Neilan before the Boclair defence got it to the edge of the penalty box where the onrushing Moultrie blazed over. It was desperately unlucky from Chryston who somehow just couldn’t get it over the line.
A relieved Boclair went on the attack in the final few minutes of the first half with Louis Fisher beating three men on the left wing before playing a one-two with Ian Stokes but Fisher’s curled effort went just wide.
At half-time it was Boclair two goals to the good, but Chryston had responded well to show they weren’t giving up yet.