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A goal in either half secured Bishopbriggs Academy their second Senior SSFA Shield in five years, at the expense of St Peter the Apostle High School. Lee Davison's first half solo effort and Ethan Dastey's excellent half volley were the difference between the sides, as Bishopbriggs taught their opponents from Clydebank a finishing lesson.
Bishopbriggs had reached the final in style, scoring thirty-four goals in their six previous rounds. Conquered on route were last year's champions St Mungo's HS - in addition to Braidhurst HS, Larbert HS, Lornshill Academy, Trinity Academy, St Modan's HS and Stonelaw. The East Dunbartonshire school were riding high on confidence as they looked to reclaim the honour they won for the one and only time in 2009.
The opposition were St Peter the Apostle, who were yet to win the shield at this age group, but were fast developing a reputation as one of the strongest footballing schools in the country. Having lost out in a semi final and final of the national competition at the younger age groups, the old heads of the school's football setup were looking to go one better. St. Stephen's HS, Springburn Academy, Barrhead HS, Inverclyde Academy, Carnoustie HS, Bannerman HS and St Ambrose had all fell to Saints in the earlier rounds.
The match kicked off with a noisy atmosphere on a cold and damp night at Airdrie United's Excelsior Stadium. Bishopbriggs were the livelier spectators, hands down, but the purple shirts of St Peter the Apostle were the brighter starters on the pitch. Matthew Todd was the first to threaten, outstripping the Bishopbriggs defence and forcing a good save from David Aubrey.
Saints continued their early pressure and Todd continued to be the main threat. He produced excellent footwork on the left wing to ride a couple of challenges, played a neat one two with Gary Hynes, and flashed a shot off the near post with Aubrey rooted to the spot.
After soaking up the early pressure Bishopbriggs started to come into the game. Their first effort on goal came courtesy of Ethan Datsey, who fired a powerful effort from the edge of the box that was well held by Patrick Hasty.
With the half coming to a close and 0-0 looking the likely midway score, a moment of magic saw the game burst into life. Bishopbriggs' Scotland schools international Lee Davison picked the ball up forty yards from goal, drove at the retreating centre halves, and unleashed a right foot rocket from outside the box - which crashed in off the left hand post (click here to watch video of goal).
It proved to be the last goalmouth action of a tight first half, giving Bishopbriggs the narrowest of leads at the break.
Half Time: Bishopbriggs Academy 1-0 St Peter the Apostle HS
St Peter the Apostle signalled their intentions by using only ten of the fifteen half time minutes. The Clydebank school's players were out on the field warming up ahead of time, braced for forty-five make or break minutes.
Whilst Saints struggled to break down Bishopbriggs from open play, they did succeed in forcing an abundance of set pieces. From a quickfire series of corners they threatened time and again, with Ryan McAllen's near post header the closest to finding the target.
At the other end Bishopbriggs were looking dangerous on the counter attack. Their slick passing and composure on the ball was not in doubt - they just weren't being allowed enough of the ball. On one occasion a sweeping passing move including James Taylor and Davidson, worked the ball to the feet of James Finlay, who couldn't keep his 25 yard drive down.
The end to end nature of the game continued. Christopher McLaughlin's long throw hit the Bishopbriggs post; James Taylor had a shot saved by Saints' Hasty after neat footwork inside the box; a last ditch piece of defending from Ross Lyon kept Bishopbriggs' lead intact; and Nathan Moore timed his run to perfection to latch onto a pass from the right flank, but once again Hasty was a formiddle presence which couldn't be passed.
If one moment suggested tonight wasn't going to be St Peter's night, it came in the 70th minute. Yet another corner was swung into the Bishopbriggs box and when the ball was knocked down inside the six yard box Andrew McElhill stuck out a boot to divert it onto the crossbar. The loose ball fell to Calum Cook to hammered it goalwards, but Aubrey was in the right place at the right time to make an instinctive save.
Hynes headed a free kick goalwards, but it was no trouble for Aubrey. Nor was the 30 yard effort from McLaughlin, which flew wide of the right hand post. You couldn't fault St Peter's will to get back into the game, but understandably frustration was creeping in.
With a little under ten minutes remaining, the game's second moment of magic came about. A bouncing ball on the edge of the St Peter's penalty box was seized upon by Dastey, who half volleyed the ball beyond Hasty to send the Bishopbriggs players and supporters wild.
From this point onwards Bishopbriggs played with a new found confidence. They weren't given an easy ride by St Peter the Apostle, who went close again through Scott Cameron, but the 2-0 lead looked a bridge too far for the Clydebank outfit.
The minutes ticked away and the referee's final whistle sounded to the elation of the men in white and their large travelling band of fans. Both sets of players had served up a final fitting for the occasion, but it was Bishopbriggs who can call themselves champions of Scotland - with a group of players leaving school football with the ultimate feather in their cap.
Full Time: Bishopbriggs Academy 2-0 St Peter the Apostle HS