The perfect start ensured Clydebank FC breezed into the fourth round of the Scottish Youth FA Cup with a 6-2 victory over Fairmuir BC. Two goals in the first five minutes from Ruairi Fitzpatrick and Robert Clunie knocked the wind out of the away side and Fitzpatrick’s second made it 3-0 at half-time. Steven Abbot gave Fairmuir a lifeline, but a Derek Hay strike, a goal for James Masterton and a second for Clunie, either side of a spectacular long-range Jay Taylor consolation effort, meant Clydebank ran out comprehensive victors.
Getting an early lead is always important, especially in cup ties, and Clydebank took no time at all to get in front. Steven Collins’ measured free-kick from the edge of the box brought out a fine diving save from Connor Reilly, but with the Bankies players following in hoping for a rebound, Fitzpatrick was left with an easy finish.
Not content with one, Clydebank doubled their lead within two minutes. This time it was Robert Clunie down the right channel with a shot across goal that looked like it took a deflection off a defender under pressure from Hay in the middle before nestling in the bottom corner.
Fairmuir looked shell-shocked and were unable to cope with the pace and creativity of the Clydebank attack. Clunie looked to drop deep and pick up the ball before spraying it wide to either Collins or Shahine Rebika, or to play the through pass over the top for powerful striker Hay to bully his way on to.
More sustained pressure followed for the Bankies but when the third goal came it was a piece of individual determination that earned it. Fitzpatrick went up for a header at the halfway line, won it with a strong challenge, then was first onto the loose ball. With space opening up in front of him he drove forward unchallenged and kept his cool to pick his spot in the bottom corner as the keeper rushed out.
The early bombardment had rattled Fairmuir into making some early changes in personnel and tactics, but it was failing to stop Clydebank from running through at will. Their only chance of an outball to take some pressure off their defence was using the pace of Abbot and Keiran McWilliam. Throughout the first half they were the only positive for Fairmuir as they always looked to link up and make something happen.
Unfortunately for them the Clydebank defence held firm and restricted them to mostly long range efforts and prevented them reaching through balls. The defence had their goalkeeper to thank however when Abbot raced onto McWilliam’s ball over the top and his shot on the half-volley was well-blocked by the onrushing Andrew Campbell. It was another example of the excellent understanding between the two pacey Fairmuir players.
Unfortunately for Clydebank, Clunie, who had been one of their star performers, had to be subbed after taking a knock, with James Holt replacing him. Holt almost made an instant contribution, but his free-kick was narrowly over.
At half-time it looked like the tie was over as a contest, with Clydebank worthy of their three-goal lead and probably disappointed they hadn’t created more from the positions they were in. They were just missing something on their final ball and cutting edge. Fitzpatrick in the middle of the park was both goalscorer and creator as well as being tough in the tackle. Fairmuir were desperately needing to get more support to Abbot and McWilliam who were looking increasingly isolated yet still the most likely to create something special.