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Hamilton show clinical edge to beat Falkirk in Youth Cup clash.

Hamilton Academical 4

Kelly 3, 75, Cunningham 46, Tierney 57

Falkirk 2

O'Hara 22, Peggie 52
  • Sunday, 29 October 2017
  • The SuperSeal Stadium
  • Under 20´s
  • Scottish Youth Cup

A real ding-dong encounter between Hamilton and Falkirk ended in a 4-2 win for Accies at the SuperSeal Stadium in the Scottish Youth Cup.

A brace from Ross Cunningham added to strikes from Marc Kelly and Ryan Tierney for Hamilton, whilst Falkirk twice got themselves back on level terms through Kevin O’Hara and Reis Peggie.

Hamilton came into the match on the back of a confidence-boosting 3-0 home win against Dundee United in the Development League, with memories of their terrific 4-2 win over Queen’s Park in Round two still fresh in the mind.

For Falkirk, they came into the game on the back of two games without a win. A 1-0 home defeat to Motherwell was followed up by a 1-1 draw in Dundee – leaving the Bairns looking to the Youth Cup to springboard league success.

The game had hardly settled before Hamilton stormed into an early advantage. Leon McCann was showing great energy down the left early on, and after reaching the by-line within minutes of kick-off, his low cross saw an initial effort parried by Robbie Mutch, before Marc Kelly turned in the rebound.

Hamilton looked buoyed by their early start, and were winning the aerial duels impressively in the final third through Kelly and the impressive Ryan Tierney.

Falkirk stuck to their principles however, and after an early wave of pressure from Accies, the Bairns started to play it out from the back. Falkirk used their passing game to good effect as the half wore on, as they grew in confidence and started using the flanks.

Marky Munro and Mark Stow were combining well down the left, with Stow in particular looking like he could create something.

A few crosses into the penalty area troubled Hamilton as Falkirk turned the screw. Firstly, a corner was controlled by Mark Finlayson, who hooked over the bar on with an over-head effort. Then, moments later, a deep cross to the far post from Reis Peggie found Conor Langton waiting, but his header was sent over.

A goal was coming with Falkirk in control of the ball, and it was no surprise when they equalised through Kevin O’Hara. The Bairns won an aerial duel in the midfield, with Jason Jarvis flicking a ball through for O’Hara to run onto. He strode forward with confidence to bury a low effort past the helpless Alex Marshall.

Credit must go to Hamilton for how they responded to the Falkirk goal. After surviving an initial flurry of counter-attacks, Accies grabbed control of the midfield and started winning the 50-50s.

With 10 minutes to go until the end of the half, Hamilton’s pressure started with a patient move around the Falkirk box, with Ross Cunningham firing wide from outside the area.

This led to a late siege of pressure in the first 45 from the hosts, as a Cunningham effort was blocked in the box, before Tierney’s clever glancing header was saved spectacularly from Mutch.

Accies had the ball in the net twice in the final five minutes of the half, both being put in by Lewis Ferguson. Firstly, the youngster lashed home a rebound but was adjudged to have fouled Mutch, before beating the Falkirk goalkeeper in an aerial duel and once again being penalised for it.

  • Half Time:
  • Hamilton Academical
  • 1-1
  • Falkirk

Hamilton continued their dominance into the second half, and took another quick lead. Cunningham latched on to another header from Ferguson, before calmly slotting under Mutch.

Falkirk would roar back within minutes though, with the goal coming out of nowhere. Peggie had darted into the box to try and meet a cross from the left. When he collected the loose ball, he took a couple of touches before rifling an effort high into the near post for 2-2.

The Bairns could’ve been ahead on 56 minutes when a cross from the right found Langton outside the area, but his first-time effort went wide.

Accies punished them as they took the lead a minute later. Kelly showed great footwork to get clear down the right, before cutting inside and laying it on a plate for Tierney to grab a deserved goal from yards out.

The visitors seemed to get frustrated after conceding the third. The likes of Tierney were holding the ball up tremendously well in the final third, and it drew several fouls around the area that Accies should’ve done better with.

Ferguson sent a free-kick from 20 yards over the bar, before Mutch made another terrific stop to deny Tierney, who met a low cross from Cunningham sweetly.

With the game entering the final 15 minutes, Falkirk looked a little leggy as their passing started to become too heavy, and allowed Hamilton to clear with ease.

Tierney was really having a big influence on proceedings with his terrific hold-up play. His ability to keep the ball close and find team-mates around him had Falkirk on the back-foot more than they would’ve liked.

There was a half chance for the Bairns when Kieran Sweeney’s cross was just missed by Langton at the back post, but things went from bad to worse for Falkirk moments later.

Kelly showed terrific foot-work to burst clear of two Falkirk defenders. Mitchell then halted him in his tracks, but was given a second booking for his efforts as the visitors went down to 10 men.

Hamilton played out the final 15 confidently. Chances started to arrive as Mutch was called into action on several occasions.

Accies were 4-2 up two minutes after the sending off. Kelly worked some space in the box and, after Mutch impressively parried the striker’s effort, the ball fell kindly to Cunningham who fired home.

Kelly again found space in the final third, and sent a through pass through for Tierney. With a slight deflection on the pass, it took it away from the Bairns’ defence, but Mutch again made himself big when the striker was through on goal.

There was no threat from a tired Falkirk in the final five minutes, with Hamilton playing the game out with ease and confidence to send them through to the next round of the Youth Cup.

For Falkirk, they’ll be thoroughly disappointed with how that game turned out. They tried to play football on the ground and showed some lovely passing moves throughout the game. The red card didn’t help their hopes of a comeback, but they showed great character to come back twice in a game that was always running away for them.

Accies had so much energy about them. Despite Falkirk having good spells at times in the game, Hamilton were the better side and had so much more going for them in the final third. Tierney and Kelly were particularly impressive, with the former causing havoc in the final third whilst the latter’s footwork drew all sorts of fouls from Falkirk.

In the end, it was a fitting result to a cracking cup-tie.

  • Full Time:
  • Hamilton Academical
  • 4-2
  • Falkirk

Lineups

Hamilton Academical
Falkirk
1. Alex Marshall
2. Ronan Hughes
3. Rico Quitongo
4. Adam Douglas
5. Danny O'Halloran
6. Jack Breen
7. Lewis Ferguson
8. Ross Cunningham
9. Ryan Tierney
10. Marc Kelly
12. Leon McCann
14. Ciaran McAndrew
15. Robbie Crawford
16. Liam Scullion
17. Charlie Reilly
18. Lewis Smith
19. Ross Connelly
20. Sean Slaven
1. Robbie Mutch
2. Kyle Mitchell
3. Marky Munro
4. Jonny Mitchell
5. Mark Finlayson
6. Reis Peggie
7. Conor Langton
8. Cameron Blues
9. Kevin O'Hara
10. Jason Jarvis
11. Mark Stow
12. Jay Cantley
14. Yusuf Hussain
15. Dominic Lavelle
16. Jack Hodge
17. Kieran Sweeney
18. Aidan Laverty
19. Harry Girdwood
Star Player
Hamilton Academical
Falkirk
Marc Kelly - This was a real toss-up between Kelly and Ryan Tierney. However, the former had a part to play in everything that was good about Hamilton. A goal, an assist, and a big part in the fourth goal led to a great day for the striker. His quick feet also caught out Mitchell for his red card, and all in all it was a good day for the Hamilton front-man.
Robbie Mutch - The Falkirk goalkeeper may have been beaten four times, but in between times he was making terrific saves and showing good ball-handling. Some great stops from Tierney in particular gave the 'keeper a performance he can be satisfied with, if not the result.
Magic Moment
Hamilton Academical
Falkirk
The second goal came straight from kick-off in the second half for Accies, and it was a lovely spell of pressure. They worked it very well, with Cunningham making an intelligent run whilst Ferguson was winning the aerial duel. He took the ball in his stride before lashing home to put his side back in front.
Despite the fact it was a day to forget for Falkirk, their first equaliser was a thing of beauty. An aerial duel was won allowing Jarvis to flick it on to the onrushing O'Hara. The energetic striker used all of his pace to burst on to the ball and slot a lovely first-time finish past Marshall.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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