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The last but by no means least of the SYFA Central Region Cup Finals on Saturday at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld. Just like the Under 15’s final earlier this afternoon, the final was contested between Cumbernauld Colts and Mill United. The Under 15’s final was won by Mill United by one goal to nil, could the Under 21’s follow in their footsteps or would Cumbernauld reverse the result?
Mill United were first to attack the goal, with John Docherty cutting in from the left hand side, he found himself some space in the 18 yard box but his toe poke towards goal was saved well by the feet of Stephen Geddes in the Cumbernauld goal.
Mill were truly dominating the game, with their keeper Robert Brown not having any involvement, up until the point in which he raced from his goal to the other end of the pitch to celebrate the first goal with his team mates. Michael Boyle’s shot was blocked by Peter Green, but the spin of the ball put it into the path of Mark Brady who finished well past Cumbernauld keeper Geddes. Mill United, deservedly, took the lead.
No further goalmouth action took place after Mill United’s goal, until Cumbernauld were awarded a penalty. Personally, I felt the decision was very, very harsh on Mill captain and centre half Mark Lovell. An apparent push on John Carrick is what made the referee’s mind up on giving the penalty, but I couldn’t see anything wrong with the attempt to win the ball in the air from Lovell. However, there was no doubt about the penalty kick itself, as Carrick picked himself to take it, and almost took the posts out of the ground with the power he struck the ball with. Emphatically put away by Carrick, and first involvement in his own box for Mill keeper Brown was to pick the ball out of his net. He had no chance of saving the penalty.
Mill almost went back in the lead, with Kevin Barry Grant in the 18 yard box on the right hand side, his low shot across keeper Geddes struck the foot of the post and bounced out to Mark Brady, who cut in then out again but his shot was remarkably stopped on the line by a full stretch Peter Green.
Yet another great chance for Mill United, and this time, there is no doubt they should have went back in front in this game. Mark Brady drove down the right hand side and rounded keeper Geddes, but his shot found the inside of the post. Kevin Barry Grant was all alone in the middle of the 6 yard box with the goal at his mercy but he lost his footing at the vital moment. The danger was cleared by Peter Green.
That was to be the last action of the first half, in which Mill United dominated, but Cumbernauld managed to snatch a goal, in their only real attack of the game, from the penalty spot.
Towards the end of the first half, and into the half time interval, the fire alarm in the stadium was set off, and this lead to all players and spectators being evacuated from the stadium. Two fire engines and two police cars arrived at the stadium as they had been alerted from the alarm that there was a fire, however they found it that the glass on the alarm had been broken which had accidently set it off.
Half Time: Cumbernauld Colts 1-1 Mill United
So after an interval of around 25 minutes, and the game already running behind schedule due to a late kick off, the second half, much to my relief, finally began and it was not to be a disappointment.
Mill United finally got themselves back in the lead. Talisman Kevin Barry Grant the scorer. A long throw from Mark Brady into the area, Grant turned and his powerful effort proved too much for Geddes in the Cumbernauld goal to deal with. Deservedly, Mill United were back in front. Kevin Barry Grant, the best player on the park, finished expertly. 2-1 to Mill United.
A corner taken by Mill United’s Brian Bittles met the head of centre half Lovell who was up from the back. His header was very unluckily just over the bar.
Next was a moment of madness in the Mill defence. Cumbernauld’s John Carrick drove right to the byline, he but the ball back across the face of goal. A heavy touch from Steven McInall lead to keeper Brown attempting kick the ball to safety. His attempted clearance hit the closing down player Jonathan Reid, and the ball appeared to hit Reid’s hand. However, despite being surrounded by four Mill United defenders, he managed to get a nick on the ball towards goal. It hit the post, hit Reid again, Brown saved the rebound, it hit Reid yet again, and the ball bounced to safety off Lovell for a Cumbernauld corner. The corner was very wasteful as they tried to play it short, but it was picked up by Mark Russell, and cleared to safety.
In a great chance to level the scores, Stuart McKenzie found himself on the left hand side of the box, the angle was tight but he should have got his shot on target. His shot was well over the bar, his head in his hands. He knew it was a great chance to equalise for Cumbernauld.
A few minutes after receiving his first booking for a mistimed tackle, McKenzie received his marching orders. A late challenge, this time accidental, was a foul on Mark Brady. McKenzie argued his case but he could have walked earlier for his lunge on Lindsay a few minutes prior to his actual sending off.
With Cumbernauld unable to get the ball forward to find an equaliser, the cup was Mill United’s with the referee blowing the final whistle at the Broadwood Stadium, sending the Mill United players and supporters into celebration mode. It takes some match to go head to head with the Champions League final, but as the crowds scurried away to watch Bayern Munich's triumph, they won't be forgetting their dose of Under 21 drama in North Lanarkshire.
Full Time: Cumbernauld Colts 1-2 Mill United